As usual, the Revised Common Lectionary offers a wealth of options for preaching this week. Matthew 10 could itself be several different sermons! Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Christ brings a sword to the earth, not peace. One’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Can your community to relate to any of these things? Are your folks divided by people who are susceptible to illness opposed to those who just want life to “go back to normal”? Jesus’ teachings here might help your community members feel like they are not alone, and that God is with them in their struggle.
In Matthew 10, Jesus also exhorts the faithful to bring secrets to light – uncover all that is hidden and hurtful and air it out! What community doesn’t have secrets that need airing? Is there a way to address these hidden things while your congregation is still meeting online, or do those unspoken things need to remain unspoken until the community gathers again in person? Online communication makes community look and feel so different, some of the truths in Jesus’ teachings are hard to adapt for our current reality.
If you are reading the Genesis text in worship today, please take advantage of the opportunity to preach on this important text. For those preachers whose family history does not include the trauma of enslavement, I encourage you to read what American women scholars of color have to say about Hagar. In particular, check out Womanist Midrash, by Dr Wil Gafney, or Just A Sister Away, by Dr Renita Weems. Remember that God’s blessings and promises, even in Scripture, are not exclusive to the children of Israel.
Perhaps the meaningful message for your community this week is found in Romans 6: we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. Maybe Jeremiah 20 is relevant: despite the taunts of enemies and friends, I will not falter, and God will deliver me. Or is one of the Psalms most relevant for you this week?
How is the pandemic continuing to influence your worship and your community? What new insights do you have to faith, after several months of proclaiming the Gospel to a camera or screen? Preachers in the USA, this Sunday is the closest to Juneteenth, which commemorates the date when the last slaves learned of their emancipation, in 1865. How are you honoring this celebration in liturgy, song, or preaching?
Dear colleagues, blessings to you this week as you prepare for worship, whatever that looks like. Please share your questions and ideas below. Welcome to the conversation!
Katya Ouchakof is a hospital chaplain and paddlesports professional in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. She is excited about the spinach, carrots, and green beans starting to grow in her garden. Katya posts daily inspiration on her blog.
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4 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Name It”
I went with this week’s Jeremiah and Matthew texts last Sunday and talked about when we are called to share difficult words. https://youtu.be/eKysu5T3Ik4
This week I am going with Genesis. In Canada this is National Indigenous Day/Indigenous Day of PRayer and I am thinking that there is a link between how Sarah treats Hagar and the first born of Abraham and the way our Settler ancestors treated the first inhabitants of this land. In that link we of Settler stock are Sarah–and Sarah is not the hero of the story (neither is Abraham for that matter — actually I find that Abraham is rarely a heroic character in the stories about him)
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Thank you for this! Yes, Hagar’s story often seems to resonate with those who have had their land and inheritance taken from them. Thank you for addressing this difficult topic.
I have my own opinions about the relationship between God and Abraham/Sarah, but I agree with you that neither A nor S come out as the hero here. Hoping that you can find a way to share this story meaningfully for your people.
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I am preaching Genesis (with a little Romans thrown in) and focusing on how God is always working out God’s promises. We can choose to work with God or work against God. Of course, there is always grace for when we think we are with God and it turns out we are wrong. Here’s the beginnings of my thoughts: https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/time-to-work-with-god/
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