Reflecting on the Revised Common Lectionary texts for this coming Sunday, November 13:
Be glad! Rejoice forever!
God is creating new heavens & a new earth!
There is a day coming
when evil will stumble (Malachi 4:1),
when the complacent and the lovers of the
status quo will be revealed (2 Thessalonians 3:11),
when those who put their faith in the structures
and institutions of this world (Luke 21:6)
will tremble before heaven’s signs and they
will be called upon to do what is right.
Yes, that means you/us too.
You will say in that day:
Give thanks to the LORD!
Tell the world what God has done!
No matter whether you follow or falter,
make a joyful noise to the LORD!
Hear the sea roar, listen to the hills sing!
Celebrate God’s victory, for the LORD has done
and is doing new & marvelous things!
Have you felt it — the new thing that God is doing? Have you heard its song in the air? Have you rolled in its joy like a pile of crunchy autumn leaves?
No? (Me neither, most days.) What is weighing you down so much that you can’t envision it, taste it, touch it, dream of it, call out its name, share its good news, work for its realization? What are the burdens of those to whom you preach this week, the strains & stresses that prevent these texts from feeling like the early glimpse of Advent’s promises that they are?
I can think of a few reasons, among many others:
- Globally, the manifestations of xenophobia are compromising, challenging, worrying our collective spirit: from the reactions to refugee resettlement…to the ongoing injustices against indigenous communities…to the perpetuation of racism and sexism.
- In the US context, stress has been sky-high through the presidential election season, and many RevGals & Pals will be stepping into pulpits post-election this Sunday.
- Some among us are preaching during the annual stewardship season, as churches look ahead to 2017 and consider their budgets, their ministries and their maintenance.
See the wolf and the lamb!
See the vineyards ripe with fruit!
How will you bring good news and imagination to your sermonizing this week? What are the current events (local and global) that contribute to your particular audience’s encouragement or discouragement? Do you yourself have a strong sense of what God’s new thing is … or are you searching for it, straining after it, waiting patiently for it?
Join the conversation in the comments here, and share your worries & wonders of sermon prep.
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