I could write an entire sermon on the first verse from this week’s Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading. When Jesus heard bad news, he withdrew and regrouped. Can you relate? Have you ever been in Jesus’ shoes?
Sometimes we receive news that shatters our understanding of reality. We have to retreat for a beat, before we can figure out how to respond. We don’t immediately know what our role is in this new reality. Are we ready for it? Was Jesus? Did he truly believe it was his time to begin public ministry, or did he simply realize that he had no other choice once he learned of John’s arrest?
Regardless of the motivation for the beginning of his ministry, Jesus made a serious splash in the history of the world. The disciples that he recruited in today’s Gospel story became leaders in the revolutionary movement that Jesus instigated. They risked death to bring Jesus’ message to the world. What would society look like today if Simon and Andrew had said no to following Jesus? Matthew portrays it as simple decision for the brothers to make, but it changed the course of world history!
How can you preach these passages to your community this week? It seems like there are both impulsive reactions and spiritual depth that end up having immeasurable consequences. When do our actions bear such deep meaning? Or do all of our decisions carry this weight? What do we do with the power that we yield?
In 1 Corinthians, Paul preaches unity in Christ, though he would make a stronger case if he hadn’t forgotten some of the people he baptized. Any chance you’re celebrating a baptism this Sunday? This passage offers a great opportunity to expound on the meaning of Christian unity, over and above differences in denominations, nationalities, ethnicities, or theology.
Psalm 27 is one of my favorites. The lectionary omits verse 2 about foes and enemies and evildoers devouring my flesh. What I love about this psalm is that it recognizes some of the horrible things that we may be going through in life, and assures us that God does not abandon us even in the middle of it all. God may not take away our suffering, but God is with us the entire time, offering protection and relief.
Where is the Spirit leading you for this week’s sermon? Do you have any ideas for prayers or children’s time or other pieces of worship? What is speaking to you and your community this week? Wherever you are in your worship prep, welcome to the conversation! Please share your ideas and questions below. Blessings on your ministry!
Katya Ouchakof is a hospital chaplain and paddlesports professional in Madison, WI (USA). She and her husband are slowly playing their way through the new board games they received as Christmas gifts.
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.