In a previous life, I helped lead retreats for schoolchildren from Christian schools. A class of kids, usually age 8-10, would come for a week at a time during the school year with their teachers, and we would be responsible for activities, worship, and meals every day. At that age, kids tend to be somewhat competitive, and excited to prove themselves to both their peers and adults.
One week we had a particularly competitive group of students, and I got frustrated with how much pushing and shoving was involved every time we lined them up to go somewhere. Finally, as we were about to head over for a meal, I waited for them to stop jostling for the best place in line, and then called out, “OK! Since Jesus said that the last shall be first and the first shall be last, everyone turn around and follow the last person in line to dinner!” There was much less competition for the best place in line after that!
This week’s Revised Common Lectionary Gospel is about reversals and overturned expectations. Where have you seen the first become last in your faith community? In your town or city? There are plenty of ways to make this passage seem tangible to worshippers, as I did for those kids at the retreat center – though I doubt you’ll want to line them all up and then turn them around. If you have other ideas on how to demonstrate this reversal to your community, please share them below!
Perhaps this week you’ll be addressing the Hebrew Bible lesson, or the Epistle. Most of this week’s choices come from Wisdom literature: Proverbs 31, Psalm 1, Wisdom of Solomon 1 & 2, Psalm 54, or James 3 & 4. Where are you and your community experiencing the presence of God’s Wisdom? How can this practical advice speak to you – or how can you name it as outdated for your own time and place?
Whether you’re using one of these readings, or Jeremiah, or something else entirely, we look forward to hearing your ideas! Blessings on your writing and your preparations for worship this week.
Katya Ouchakof is an ELCA pastor in Madison, WI (USA). Once this weekend’s funeral, Sunday worship, and congregational meeting are finished, she looks forward to a week of vacation with her husband! Katya blogs occasionally at Provocative Proclamations.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.