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.
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.