Faithful Women in the window at Paisley Abbey: Salome, Mary, Elisabeth, and Eunice.
Photo by Teri Peterson

There’s a sort of synergy between the RCL and NL texts this week, as both offer us reminders of how to take care of people living with great hardship, but from very different angles. Or perhaps not that different?

It’s also the last Sunday in Lent, with just Palm Sunday and Holy Week still ahead. In the words of Carrie Newcomer, “feels like we’re leaping into the kingdom of God…but I’m coming undone, all loose ends and ravels…” I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt as they walked the roads to Jerusalem? How our congregations feel as we are pulled relentlessly toward the cross again, but with these stop-offs for teaching and eating and seeing?

What are you preaching this week? Are you finishing a Lenten series? Preaching a lectionary? Spilling Beans? Having a Lent cantata or some other way of getting a bit of respite before the marathon begins? Whatever the case, there’s room here for procrastination techniques, snacks, help with phrases that just won’t turn, and bouncing ideas around until the Spirit finally decides to run with one of them!

Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland. She lives along the beautiful Firth of Clyde, where it’s been surprisingly cold and lacking in cake lately. She is co-author of Who’s Got Time: spirituality for a busy generation, a board member of RevGalBlogPals, and a contributor to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit.

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 to the specific post. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com

12 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: taking care of those who are poor…

  1. going out tonight [Saturday] for dinner, so trying to write a sermon in daylight. i have a start. at least it is communion tomorrow, so a shorter sermon wont matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last year we spent the season of Lent reflecting on Liz Theoharis’ book about the Poor People’s Campaign and this line, You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me. Theoharis’ thesis is that this line, as Jesus intended it, was to point us to dismantling the structures of society that create and encourage poverty and the uneven distribution of wealth. I offered a weekly forum on poverty and the environment, poverty and health care, poverty and food insecurity, poverty and water, and poverty and global economics….it was fascinating. I tried to eliminate my use of plastic and ended up mostly eliminating single use plastic and reducing my use of plastic in other ways. Tomorrow, when I preach on this text I am going to focus on Benedictine spirituality and the rule of Benedict, (according to Joan Chittister) regarding “enoughness” …”Enoughness is a value long dead in Western society. Dependence on God is a value long lost. Yet, enoughness and dependence on God may be what is lacking in a society where consumerism and accumulation have become the root disease of world in which everything is not enough nothing satisfies.” Then connect this to Mary pouring out the jar of nard, not as an act of extravagance but as a sign of enoughness. Because in pouring it out, pouring out the extravagant costly nard, she had nothing to lose. Only in keeping it could she lose it. In sharing it, by pouring it out on Jesus, in giving it back to God, could she be free.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with the text tomorrow, but this is my early morning thought as I reflect on it…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Tomorrow is a Cradle Roll Service – I haven’t done this here before; we have invited the families of every child who has been baptised or blessed by me while I have been in this call – 8 years! Confirmed replies amount to around 17 children, plus siblings, plus family. So chances are we will have a large and lively congregation tomorrow. Considering our norm is one or two babies, this may be a shock to the system!
    I am not preaching a sermon, but reflecting on who we are; how God knows each one of us; and that we are loved. I have many small(ish) stones to give out with Jesus (hearts) you, or us (depending on size) to give. Hoping I have enough so everyone gets one. There will be sharpies available so they can add in their own names and decorations.
    Then – they are going to write their names / loved ones names on strips of paper which will all be joined together and hung on our prayer tree…
    It is hopefully going to be lively and active and warm and welcoming…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I am the RCL with Isaiah and doing a new thing. Tonight (Saturday in the US) we have a new men’s fellowship group starting to meet…a long overdue needed event for men in general. The name…Prayers and Poker. The invitation was great and included anyone who wanted to learn and get to know other men in the church. So…keeping in the spirit my sermon title is “Holy Prayers and Poker” tomorrow. I am highlighting that event as well as a new out of the box MT and GF service where we will be showing NBC’s Live Version of Jesus Christ Superstar with John Legend. MT will be a little over an hour and GF a little under an hour. I am at the tweakable stage and hope to have it wrapped up quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m working on the passage from John. In January, I preached a sermon on the wedding at Cana, arguing that the ridiculous amount of wine was a sign of abundance. This one is probably going to go along the same lines. I have a story in mind from a previous church, some other vague thoughts. Communion Sunday for us, so I may try to tie that in.

    Every remaining bit of my energy and thoughts are consumed by getting our house ready to sell, an unfortunate concurrence with the end of Lent! Our whole family is tired and snippy and emotionally overwhelmed–even the dog!–so your prayers are appreciated. My task for the afternoon is to figure out how to repair some window blinds, so we don’t have to pay to replace them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m going with the RCL- Isaiah and John. The United Church of Christ “One Great Hour of Sharing” offering (disaster response & global missions) will happen for us this Sunday, too, so I’m trying to make a connection between the woman’s gift and the idea that God welcomes whatever we have, however we give it, and will use what we give for good, regardless of others’ judgements of convention and propriety.
    (Also: for the children’s message, I’m using the book, “Swimmy” to connect the Isaiah passage and our special offering. I’m not overly concerned about the kids’ comprehension of the metaphor…regardless, it’s a wonderful story that shows what small folks can do in the face of Big Overwhelming Things.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m going with John, but I’m taking it in a different direction from some of the other commenters. I did a little calculation. If the perfume was worth 300 denarii, and that represented a year’s wages for a laborer, at today’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which everyone agrees is far too little, times 40 hours a week times 52 weeks in a year, it would work out to $15,000. That is some really expensive perfume! Which makes me wonder where Mary got it, and how she could afford it. The story doesn’t say. Were Mary and Martha and Lazarus really wealthy?

    But here’s the deal: how do you say thank you to someone who raised your beloved brother from the dead? How much is enough? How do you show Jesus just what he means to you? And how do we today thank Jesus for our lives? There isn’t enough money in the world. So how do we do it?

    This line of thinking bypasses the issue of the statement, “the poor you have with you always,” but maybe it’s a question to ask. How, indeed, do we say thank you?

    Liked by 1 person

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