dscn0566As ever, our texts speak into our world today:

What does the Lord require of us? To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly…

And who are the blessed – which groups would Jesus include in the Beatitudes today?

How are you preaching these texts in the light of world events? How is the Spirit shaping our teaching of the gospel?

Please share where you are heading as you prepare to share God’s word. Let’s challenge and inspire one another to be faithful and true and courageous in bringing God’s word for God’s people today.

Discussion on the Narrative Lectionary can be found here.

And discussion on the RCL can be found here.

Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project in Scotland.  A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals, instigator of Spill the Beans and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling

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38 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Who are the blessed?

  1. I have spent the week working on a powerpoint of photos from the 150 year history of the church I serve in preparation for our 150th annual meeting. It’s been fascinating and all consuming. So…I have no idea what I will say in my homily for the service. I am tempted to make only a nod at the beatitudes and preach on Micah, focusing on the idea of how do we define what God is calling us to do, what does it mean to do justice, love mercy, and be humble, now – and how have we done so over the last 150 years – and how might we do so in the future?

    Yeah. I don’t know. I’m doing the exegesis and not finding much inspiration. But we’ll see what happens between tonight and tomorrow. 🙂

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    1. 150 years – that’s a lot of history! I love those questions you ponder. How do we keep on measuring up to the prophets’ decrees? And how can we bring justice, mercy and walking humbly back to the centre of life? Great focus for annual meeting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm .. . my sermon is a hodgepodge of Micah and Matthew and some counsel for the days ahead. It’s my last sermony sermon for this congregation — I’ll be away the next two weeks and then back for just one before the called pastor begins, and for that last one I’ll be speaking about our time together during this transition.

    I’m ready to be finished. By the time the new pastor arrives, it will have been two months since the vote to call her – feels like a good-bye as long as the Obamas’. The future is quite unknown, but I am more or less ok with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin, in the denomination I am in, we have to give at least 3 months notice, and it can be as long as 6 months. Of course some ministers announce retirement dates well before that. I was concerned three months may not be long enough to tidy everything up, as they would be having supply PT. it was over 12 months before a new Minister arrived. But I suspect much more than 3 months is hard to manage.
      I hope you enjoy your time away.

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  3. i am pondering what it means to be blessed, and then looking at the list of who is blessed by God. the CEV translation, writes the Beatitudes in this form: God blesses those people……

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  4. Mark 3:20-35 here with its wonderful ending “Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.””

    Trying to end with a short meditation when I invite people to receive Jesus’ “look” (sounds better in French) and hear those words for themselves – as words of acceptance first and then of commissioning.

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  5. calling it done for the night, a little shorter than usual, but i am also including the Australian of the year awards and a conversation between Jesus and a disciple, also from Spill the Beans 2014Blessed?

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  6. I have a draft of a sermon, but it feels about as dry as a door knob….not very inspiring for 150 year celebration. I think that is a reflection of my lack of enthusiasm, having poured most of my creative self into that slide show….over 30 hours of work have gone into it this week alone….

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  7. I think I finally got the thread. Thinking about pressure to install the Ten Commandments at judicial centers, and that some say the Beatitudes would be more helpful, it occurred to me that the Ten Commandments are to the Beatitudes (and Micah 6:8) as memorizing the times tables is to using basic math in everyday life.

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    1. I’m filling in for a pastor for 5 weeks and this week I’m going to take the kids around the church and use the “churchy” words we use and talk about them. There are adults in the church who don’t understand the language so during any given Sunday I usually use the word and describe it directly after. So the kids will follow me around and come up to the chancel, the choir loft, see the communion table, the baptismal font, come up to the pulpit and then to the lectern. I will point to our balcony and narthex and we will go over to see the organ. I think this type of Children’s Time is good every 3-5 years as a refresher. Children should always be made to feel like it is “their” church and this helps a little. I’m preaching on the Beatitudes and couldn’t come up with a Children’s Story about that so this is perfect for me. 😉

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    2. The sermon is more Micah than Matthew but we are closing the service with having everyone gather around the perimeter of the sanctuary and we will offer the charge/benediction/blessing from William Sloan Coffin as follows:

      May God give you grace never to sell yourself short;
      grace to risk something big for something good;
      and grace to remember that the world
      is too dangerous for anything but truth,
      and too small for anything but love.
      -William Sloan Coffin

      So for the kids I am hoping to come up with some sort of blessing for them which is more age appropriate and talk about what is means to be blessed. It may fall flat…but that is all I have right now.

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  8. I’ve been sticking with the lectionary but felt so overwhelmed this week (with church stuff and news stuff and, honestly, by the weightiness of Micah and the Beatitudes in light of current events) that I decided to put these texts on hold and return to them maybe next week, when I felt I might be able to do them more justice. In the heat of the moment, I chose 1 Kings 19, wind/fire/sound of silence/etc, with a vague thought of preaching on listening to God. Conveniently forgot everything that comes before that part– Elijah being a prophet who offended the rulers and runs into the desert wanting to give up.

    Well…hahaha. When I finally sat down to read the text and some commentaries, I realized how deeply it speaks to everything I wanted to avoid preaching on this week. Guess there’s no escaping the Spirit…just like Elijah, you can run but you can’t hide!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Starting with “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” My congregation, which worships about 200 on a Sunday, has experienced 9 deaths in the past 12 weeks. This doesn’t even account for all the parents, grandparents, in-laws and friends of our members who I know have also died in that length of time.

    Hoping to work out from there to see where we can find ourselves in the Beatitudes, on either side of the equation. Mourning? You’ll be comforted. Not mourning? Find someone to comfort. Unfortunately, the rest of the verses aren’t so straightforward, so progress is going slowly. Any suggestions are appreciated 🙂

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    1. Canoeistpastor – maybe that’s enough to be going on with? Getting one another through this spell of loss, building the love and support – and working out what that means for the world…

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      1. Liz, you’re right, I could make that one verse the focus of the entire sermon… but honestly, I’m tired of preaching funeral sermons! So I’m hoping to find a little more inspiration to include the rest of the verses in the Beatitudes.

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  10. I’m preaching beatitudes and comparing their “alternate facts” to “alternate blessing”. Never had so many people come to me as during the past week. People here are down, angry, and bordering on hopeless about the Administration’s actions. I have to address it, it is so much bigger than an elephant in the sanctuary!

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    1. Nancy, your phrase was so helpful to me–thank you! I have a real mix of reactions in the congregation, but need to address some of this week’s news, and this helped me get there. Blessings (the real, true kind) on your preaching tomorrow–you have blessed mine.

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  11. I’m working on Luke 6, trying to make a case for Sabbath when, as Wesley Allen indicates in his commentary on Working Preacher, people don’t care about Sabbath nowadays. But I’m not feeling well; after just getting over the cold and subsequent secondary infection I brought back from Christmas vacation, I seem to be getting another one. All I really want to do is take a nap. I’ve got some ideas about the Sabbath as a precursor to the wholeness and peace we will have once the Reign of God is fully in control on earth. But it’s vague and not really coming together like I’d like.

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    1. I am thinking about the ways that this passage gives us a very tangible/practical application of the teaching/sermon in Luke 4 that launches his ministry. And there is an interesting parallel in the speaking – healing by Jesus followed by the call of the disciples (Luke 4-5, then this big chunk of 6).

      I am back in the States for 48 hours now, after a week in Cuba and 95% disconnected from the news. I have no idea how to begin to process, much less address what I have come home to. So, I may have to name that reality.

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  12. I am having a hard time with concentrating on Sabbath law what with all the stuff from this week swirling in my mind. I am still struggling with how good Christian people find what is happening okay. And many of the folks who sit in my pews are likely okay with it. Maybe I presume too much. But am having trouble shutting all that out to talk about Sabbath law.

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  13. I wrote what I thought was 75% of the sermon on Thursday on Micah and Matthew. My heart is breaking and gut is in turmoil over the actions taken by our government yesterday. Where is the justice? Where is the kindness? Where is the humbleness?

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  14. I. am. struggling. over here. Beatitudes. So much I need to say, but so much of it doesn’t have words. It’s just spluttering. But now I’ve read through the comments, and y’all reminded me that we’re also reading the Micah passage. So that may be the way I can end this thing. Thanks.

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  15. Finally finished after spending most of the day struggling with the sense of dread and impending doom caused by spending so much time reading the news. Hoping that I’ve actually said something…..

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