For all the saints
who from their labors rest…
…and we, somewhere in the space between mourning and jealousy, continue to labor in a world that assumes little opportunity for rest. The law is slack and judgment is perverted (Habakkuk 1:4), our bodies groan day & night and our strength is dried up (Psalm 32:3-4), faithful discipleship is an argument/negotiation with God (Isaiah 1:18a, depending on your translation).
We feebly struggle,
they in glory shine…
If you’re inclined to preach for all us sinners using the Revised Common Lectionary texts for this coming Sunday (the 21st Sunday after Pentecost), the opportunity to rest is found in the unburdening of our sins/transgressions against God and one another:
Bringing offerings is futile…
make yourselves clean; cease to do evil.
(Isaiah 1:13, 16)
“Half of my possessions
I will give to the poor…”
“Today salvation has come to this house.”
If you’re inclined to preach for the saints using the All Saints Day texts of November 1st, the promise of rest is found in the proclamation of God’s sovereignty, the satisfaction for the hungry, and the unceasing prayers of those who love us.
With the eyes of your heart enlightened,
may you know what is the hope
to which you are called…
(Ephesians 1:18, adapted)
“I say to you: Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you…”
(Luke 6:27, adapted)
To these promises, those who have gone before us are witnesses: God’s judgment is righteous, God’s purpose is worthy, God’s salvation/salve/healing is sure.
Thy name, O Jesus,
be forever blest.
What are the All Saints traditions in your worshiping community? How are the names of those who have died uplifted? How are the mourning comforted, and how are the struggling encouraged?
Will your sermon this Sunday come from the branches of a sycamore tree, or will it come from the plain where Jesus preaches? Are you on the watchpost with Habakkuk or chasing the dreams of Daniel?
Join the conversation and preparation toward Sunday’s sermon by posting a comment, sharing a blog link, and/or asking a question with your colleagues here on RevGalBlogPals!
The Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg‘s book with co-author Martha Spong, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith), searches for faith through life’s trials. Rachel has also written Writing to God, a popular Lenten devotional, among other books.
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.
RevGalBlogPals needs you! (And don’t you want a t-shirt?) Our Custom Ink fundraiser runs through October 28 and supports our continuing education events.
11 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Saints and Sinners”
ZAcchaeus here. We are going to sing the Sunday School song during Children’s Time. I am sort of working with a transformation thread these few weeks and Zacchaeus may well be a story about transformation. (Depending on how the verb forms are read apparently — Zacchaeus may be defending current practice rather than promising future practice).
Oh and some liturgical bits I am using this week:
LikeLiked by 1 person
Interesting thought about Zacchaeus’ tone. If his transformation was not as profound as we typically believe, at least the sycamore tree provides rich metaphors of transformation!
I’ve been thinking about singing the song for children’s time as well…but I’m not all sure what else to say with it. Or are you just going to teach the song?
I thought I would use the All Saints Day texts…until I read them. Holy cow! Daniel? “Hey, king, you’re going to be dead by morning.” And then it gets worse. So I wrote my own All Saints lectionary. Preaching from Romans 8:38-39. It don’t get no better than that.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The texts for this Sunday are certainly rich, but not very … sainty. (Or saintly.) Romans 8 is always a good choice.
I have been invited to preach in a church not my own on mental health this week. I’m using the Zacchaeus text as a call to let go of the things we claim help us to see Jesus more clearly but really hinder our ability to see Christ in our midst. Not sure it will be of any help to anyone else, but here’s what my early thoughts are: https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/sycamore-lessons/
Thanks for sharing, Rachael.
I’m using the All Saints Day Ephesians 1
for the main text and for the OT using Habbakuk.
We’re in a series about what disciples do ( from
the book Lectionary Series edied by Amy Butler),
so this week is about how disciples believe i
the resurrection. We say the Apostle’s Creed on 1st
Sundays, so it’s an opportunity to connect with
Zacchaeus—Assuming his deep pain was loneliness, as it is for all of us if we dig deeply enough. If we go with translations that say he’s already being righteous with his wealth, we see him rejected for appearances and assumptions, rather than reality. How does that apply to the maligned, declining church these days? What do we do with our own loneliness? What is God offering by inviting God’self into our lives?