This Sunday we begin Year 2 of the Narrative Lectionary. It’s the start of 15 weeks of Hebrew Bible texts, 15 passages to struggle with, mope about, and squeeze meaning from before we start with the Gospel text in Advent.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, may I suggest the Overview of Year 2 at WorkingPreacher? Even if you choose a different theme for the next months, maybe it will get your wheels turning for a theme or two.
As for me, I’m focusing on leadership this Fall. I’ll be looking for a couple of things in each text:
- How to lead people, how to help the leaders in my church
- How to defeat white supremacy (see here)
- How to follow God’s leadership
You have likely already remembered that this Sunday’s text is a second beginning—likely written from a different period, perhaps during David’s reign—and you know the differences. What was the Davidic community trying to say with this other story? My best guess is that leadership is communal—none of us can do it alone. I’m also hearing echoes of Brené Brown’s call to conquer shame.
And what does this text say about white supremacy and how we might defeat it? Perhaps this text argues against the “rugged individualism” of our culture.
And then one more thing… God’s leadership. I think I see the glory of God’s leadership in the details of the land, what glorious descriptions of the garden, like verse 8: “Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. 9 The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit.”
So where will you go with the story? Will you focus on:
- Gender and it’s meaning?
- Naming the animals?
- What stewardship means?
Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).
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7 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary: New Beginnings (Genesis 2:4b-25)”
We have settled on a theme for the next seven weeks (until I go on holiday, basically) of “keep the faith”—thinking about how we discern what God’s will is and then follow it faithfully even though it might seem impossible/silly/difficult/whatever. The big sub-theme is collaboration between God and humanity….one way we keep the faith is by working with God, toward God’s goals. That particular sub-theme features heavily in my thinking about this week….how God and the human work together in the creation, and when we are doing that there is no need for shame….when we decide we want to be able to work on our own apart from God (knowing the full extent of joy and suffering, as they said on the podcast NL;DR this week) is when we get into trouble. I know we don’t read the trouble part this year, but everyone knows it’s there because the tree is mentioned repeatedly, so…
Anyway, I love how earthy God is in this story, and delighted….god plays in the dirt, makes things and brings them to show off to Adam, and together they make a whole world, basically. There’s a lot of mutual trust (I don’t know that I would trust someone else to name my creations!), mutual care, and close companionship.
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Teri, I love the idea of God playing in the dirt.
That’s great, Teri. Thank you for that image of playing in the dirt, and I love the “mutual trust” idea, too. I think it’s important for our congregations to know that there is trust between God and humanity–that it’s not just one way.
I am back to the Narrative Lectionary at least through Christmas. This is one year I have not preached. I am intrigued by the four rivers listed flowing out of the garden and into to world…how might we flow out into the world? A podcast I listened to (found on Narrative Lectionary FB page) suggested we were given one vocation…to care and tend the garden (which includes all creatures). I think of the Amazon burning…the climate change implications…so much here. And I am also currently reading Walter Brueggemann’s new book Preaching the Old Testament. He has some great nuances there as well.
I am going with Holy Adventures (it works for whatever direction I go.) I am an interim and we are in the next step of the process (PCUSA) and just got back our interpretation from Holy Cow Consulting. BTW, they are fabulous. We have some ‘adventures’ ahead of us in terms of connecting better, worship and education….so there might a tie in there. Oi’, I hope clarity comes. 🙂
Thanks for the reminder about Brueggemann’s book! I have it on my shelf (and my not have even cracked the spine)! I’ll go look at it soon.
I have no idea what I’m preaching. Still. But I do intend to talk about what “helper” means. God doesn’t create the woman to do the dishes.