Whose power do we adore? Whose authority do we fear? Whose aggravation, whose violence, whose ridicule causes us to cower? Whose steadfastness do we trust?

The stones of a temple?

The teeth of a wolf?

The prayers of a priest?

The comments of family?

In this Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary texts, the stones of the temple inspire the disciples’ praise for empire (Mark 13:1-8); the mocking teeth of Peninnah eat away at Hannah’s spirit and the skepticism of a priest undermines her hope in prayer (1 Samuel 1:4-20); the pleasantness of life and the perks of inheritance satisfy the psalmist of God’s favor (Psalm 16); the reversal of fate captures the dreams of the anguished across time (2 Samuel 2:1-10 and Daniel 12:1-3).

What large stones the temple has!
Surely they will last forever!

What unceasing provocation Hannah endures!
Surely bitterness will be her shadow.

What marvelous ease the psalmist feels!
Surely faith always yields such pleasure.

What great reward awaits those who suffer!
Surely God will give their pain purpose.

stone wall

What large teeth and great boulders is your sermon tackling this week, RevGals and Pals? What hermeneutical hopes and dreams are you been striving to build to outlast despair?

The teeth that threaten us will crumble to dust. The stones that ground and shelter our ways of life will topple and erode. The dreams that haunt us as well as those that inspire us will fade with the dawn. The agonies of this life — from the strained relationships to the violences of evil — as eternal as they may feel in this moment, they too will fade before the stars burn out. Let earth rejoice and be glad.

Share your sermonizing notes, your blog links, your questions for collaboration here in the comments!


Rachel G. Hackenberg‘s book with co-author Martha Spong, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith), strives to make sense of faith through the trials & failures of life. Rachel has also written Writing to God and Sacred Pause.


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.

8 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: What Large Teeth You Have!

  1. I’m trying to figure out how to talk about the fact that all the large stones will indeed topple in a way that works with “dedication of pledges” Sunday. Ha! Maybe focusing on the idea that we are part of what God is bringing to birth? And that’s not about stones but about flesh and bone and spirit and breath….?

    Love your post Rachel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With the state of the UK this week – Brexit deal/ no deal; politicians resigning from government posts; PM backed into a corner – I am sure we are all about to witness the toppling of stones.
    I took the decision a few weeks back to follow the Hebrews readings to accompany the gospel – so with the temple I have priestly sacrifice/ Jesus taking the place/ hope for a better future… how very apt!
    Working out how to craft it into a meaningful message is the next thing
    Sermon title just now is “How long must we wait?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad that someone else is struck by how like the big bad wolf the stones of the temple are. I can’t get beyond the Red Riding Hood voice in my head saying, “Grandmother! What big teeth you have!” I may just have to go with that. I have this sermon and next week’s Thanksgiving sermon running through my mind right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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