Greetings RevGals and Pals! How goes your sermonizing this Saturday, noon-thirty-ish, EST? (Passages are available here at The Text This Week. Reflections and conversation starters are also on this blog, at the Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary posts. I also highly recommend this week’s Raven Review post, which takes a fascinating position about the end of sacrifice in these passages.)

IMG_0171Will you be grappling with the eerie, uncanny vision of Abram, asking God for reassurance of the covenant promise, and contending with floating fire pots and cut up goats and birds and whatnot?

Will you look to the comforting words of Psalm 27, in which the psalmist asks God for protection in the sanctuary, and expresses confidence that they shall “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”?

Will you share Paul’s urgent invitation to the church at Philippi to join him in embracing the cross of Christ?

Or will you sojourn with Luke, who offers us kind and helpful Pharisees, Herod that fox, and a loving and healing Mother Hen, who turns out to be Christ?

For my part, I did a pivot this week, from one text to another, and am enjoying the adventure. Join us in the comments! I’ve got a pot of lovely dark roast brewing.


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17 thoughts on “Preacher Party: Lent 2, Mother Hen Edition

  1. I’ve been mulling all week over the deep and terrifying darkness descending on Abram. This covenant is a good thing, and yet blessings aren’t always sunshine and rainbows; God drawing near to us is scary business. Not much commentary on this online, but I did enjoy learning (or re-learning, having forgotten from seminary?) about the covenant-making ritual of passing down the middle of the split animals.
    We have quite a few lemons on our tree if anyone wants lemonade!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy, I am drawn to passages that remind us of the terrifying nature of God. It sounds as if you are immersed and ready. Blessings on your writing and on your proclamation!


  2. Grappling with the Gospel and New Zealand. Jesus weeping over Jerusalem; being fierce and tender. Fierce in commitment to continue without regard to Herod’s threats. Tenderness for the people who will not accept the comfort of his wings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely reading of that, Gloria. Thank you so much for sharing it. Blessings on your continued writing, and on the proclamation.


  3. Excerpts…
    Romanticizing Joshua’s conquest of Canaan and David’s conquest of Jerusalem leaves genocidal language unchallenged in the scriptures, our genocidal past unrepented, and, provides theological language, and sanction for those calling for genocides today. We saw a horrific, chilling, glimpse of that in the massacres at the mosques in New Zealand, a man who murdered children, three and four years old so they wouldn’t grow up to be adult Muslims and have and raise Muslim children. That is genocidal white supremacist violence wrapped up in a toxic empire of Christiandom shell. Jesus’s lament over Jerusalem must be heard in its ancient and our contemporary contexts…
    Jesus’s response to the threat from Herod and murderous history of Jerusalem was not to resort to a toxic masculinity, call for force of arms, or even call down fire and brimstone. Instead he portrayed himself as the most ridiculous of animals, the very image of protective motherly devotion, almost mindlessly so. I imagine mother hen Jesus wanting to gather all of the disparate chicks of his, her, Jerusalem under her, his, wings: Not just Israelites, but Geeks and Romans, and Syrians and Libyans, and everyone else from everywhere else. Jesus wasn’t distinguishing citizens from immigrants and refugees; he wasn’t even distinguishing between the oppressed and their oppressors. He just wanted to hold them all to his heart, and like a mama hen, sit on then when they looked to get out and get up to trouble. Some will see in this image a call for mass conversion, certainly that is how the church has operated, often to its shame. But I want to point out that Jesus didn’t lay any requirements on those he wanted to embrace…
    Jerusalem is still a city of many peoples from many nations with many faiths; there are still those who are occupied and those who occupy. And there are still prophetic voices crying out against inequitable governing structures and policies that cannot and will not stand. Now those prophetic voices are Palestinian…
    Critiquing the policies of state of Israel is not anti-Semitic. That’s a lie that has to be prophetically called out. Antisemitism and Islamophobia are the both the spawn of white supremacy as we have seen acted out in blood in the Linwood Islamic Center and Masjid al-Noor…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From… your sermon? One of your published works? The paragraph about Jesus as Mother Hen will be enhancing/ enriching my own description of that identification. Thanks so much, Dr. Gafney! Blessings upon your prophetic proclamation of the word.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Wil, I know it was a typo, but your reference to Jesus welcoming not just Israelites, but “Geeks” and Romans…. is very comforting to me at the moment. I would call it a moment of holy serendipity to imagine geeks or clergy types to be among the ones called to shelter.

      I am also using this image and text as the basis of my sermon. have been working on it all week, but now I’m writing it in a form I can hand off to a lay leader, if necessary. My bronchitis earlier in the week triggered my asthma, and though it’s improving with treatment, I’m not sure what tomorrow will be like.

      I really appreciate your making the connection with events in NZ. What a perfect text for calling out the white supremacist origins of this week’s tragic event and so many others.

      Also, may use a bit of Barbara Brown Taylor’s article:

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Confirmation and youth retreat all day and concert tonight. Hoping I am still standing tomorrow to deliver a sermon on migration and Christianity, thanks to Abram and Sarai and a conference I attended last fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great use of that text… really good. Thanks for sharing, Robin! Strength for the day(s) ahead, and blessings upon your proclamation of the word.


  5. I am preaching on Matthew’s parable from the NL. thinking about how God is just, and we want our fair share. but there is still something niggling at me about the first and last part, and Corinthians, about giving honour to the weakest parts of our body. but it is Sunday morning, and i lead worship in 1.5 hours, so not sure if i will get to add/change the sermon. here is where i was last night Fair or Just?


  6. Preaching the Abram text on faith does not depend on our actions, that God put God’s own life on the line in the cutting of the covenant and the stars remind us we are starstuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I too am on the NL parable of the generous vineyard owner…and I’m pondering ending up in a different place than I usually go. Normally when I talk about this parable I talk about a living wage, and how the vineyard owner values people more than the work they can do for him, and so he provides enough that all can live (which is one way of thinking of abundant life, I think).
    Yesterday I started thinking about how many times he goes out to the marketplace, even when he can’t possibly have a *need* for more workers. He keeps going out there and keeps going and keeps going, bringing more and more people in each time.
    What if we were like that? What if we kept going out to where the people are waiting, and kept inviting them into the vineyard, and kept inviting, and kept inviting, even when we aren’t going to gain anything from their work? Even when they might not be the first pick for the team. Even when they haven’t previously been interested in joining us?
    And what if that wasn’t just about the church but about the nation/economy as well? What if we kept going out *looking* for ways to bring people in?

    I don’t have an answer for that, other than to say “the kingdom of God is like….”


  8. Got a third of the sermon written (after I post this I really will go back to it…yes, I will…for sure…), but in the avoidance process I’ve done a whole lot. Pulled a bunch of stuff out of the garage for trash or Goodwill; weeded in the backyard; sorted through old cables and such, digging out ones for devices we no longer have; re-folded a tent we had rolled up messily in haste; cleaned the mold out of an old outside trash can; and helped my husband with some yard work. I forget how productive I can be when I’m really determined to avoid writing 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Contrasting Abram’s questions and Jesus’ steadfastness. Last week I preached Deuteronomy & identity so this week I move from identity to obedience that comes out of knowing who we are and trusting in who God is and what God has already done. Jesus never wavers. Played around with stars being a visible sign leading us and myth/folklore around the North Star and ended with asking folks to put prayers or promises onto paper stars that I cut out tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Questioning with Abram: “How Will We Know?” Taking a bit of a risk with this one in that I’m using some Augustinian Transposition with them that involves interaction (since I am pulpit supply and cannot truly and authentically know what promises they are waiting to see fulfilled), and then closing with a song written this week that is my own paraphrase of the conversation between God and Abram, but feeling much more relaxed, having the sermon written by Saturday noon (just tweaking at this point). Thanks be to God!


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