This week, Jesus asks his disciples the famous question: who do you say that I am? While others say that Jesus is a prophet, Peter calls him the Messiah – that is, the fulfillment of prophesy, and the realization of their hope. In what ways does Jesus continue to bring us hope? Who do you say that he is?
If these were “normal” times, I might suggest a congregational brainstorm session to begin the sermon – invite worshippers to write on pieces of paper (to be collected) or simply shout out some of the words/phrases that they associate with Jesus. Depending on your current worship format, maybe this could still work. Try asking your congregation who Jesus is to them, and invite them to type their responses in the chat! And then – based on how your community sees Jesus, you might discover some new ways that you can work together to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world today.
The Revised Common Lectionary offers a wealth of preaching options. The Romans reading beautifully describes the Christian community as a single body, members of one another. What a different model than the traditional idea of church membership! It’s not about receiving the benefits of membership, or helping to pay the bills – it’s about our literal need for community in order to be whole. What are the spiritual gifts that our faith communities celebrate these days? Website management, Zoom hosting, socially-distanced pastoral care… cheerfulness still seems relevant 🙂
Those who used the Genesis reading last week heard Joseph grant his family protection in Egypt. Today, in Exodus, the Hebrew people become enslaved, and the Egyptians grow afraid of them. The parallels to race relations in today’s world are undeniable. The question from the Gospel is relevant to this story as well. Who do you say that I am? Who do you say that “the other” is – whoever that person may be? What prejudices or biases do you bring to your relationships? How can you individually, and your faith community as a whole, change your assumptions so that you continue to see each other human being as a reflection of the image of God?
There are many options for preaching this week. Please share your ideas and questions below. Blessings in your worship prep!
Katya Ouchakof is a hospital chaplain and paddlesports professional in Madison, WI (USA). She has recently re-claimed her garden from the rabbits, and hopes that there’s still time for the vegetables to grow before it frosts! Katya posts daily inspiration at revkatyawrites.com.
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13 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Who do you say that I am?”
I am a week behind and working with the Canaanite woman this week. My sermon title is CLM.
As one who thinks the church often only gives lip-service to the idea that Jesus is fully human I have always found this story important. TO be fully human sometimes means saying hurtful things, being challenged on attitudes, and growing out of the encounter.
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Thanks for sharing your reflections! There was some good discussion on this passage on last week’s RCL page 🙂
So I’m working with Isaiah and the Matthew passage together – because knowing what we base our faith on is harder than it sounds. Certainly, the disciples struggled to “get it”! I was reminded of a joke I heard about a child in Sunday School whose teacher asked the children “what’s grey, lives in a tree and has a bushy tail?” One child piped up, “well, it sounds like a squirrel, but we’re in Sunday School, so the answer has to be “JESUS!” And maybe that’s truer than we think. Anyway – that’s where I’m starting. May not tell the joke, because it’s really REALLY hard to do jokes when you’re talking to a camera. Or maybe that’s just me…
Love the joke! But you’re right, it can be hard without someone to react in-person.
Knowing the basis of our faith is crucial – blessings on your writing!
Deb, how precious is that child and equally how sad that we feel Jesus is only the answer when we are in Sunday School/Church. I actually wouldn’t hesitate to use the joke in a recorded service – those who hear it can still laugh. It may be the only smile brought into their lives that day. Hope you don’t mind if I work it into my message.
No problem! (Sorry – just seeing this.) I used it in my newsletter this week because (quite honestly) I’m a lousy joke teller and mess up the punchline.
I’m following the PCUSA Matthew 25 Church guidelines right now, so preaching on the Who do you say that I am? text. I love your ideas for interacting with our online church. Also thinking about resurrecting the question J. Herbert Nelson was asking our denomination a couple years ago, “What difference is Jesus making in your life?”
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I wrote a poem on the Matthew text this week. You’re welcome to use it with attribution if it meets your needs. https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/a-conversation-with-jesus/
This is lovely, Rachael. I especially appreciate the final paragraph, bookended by the guiding question. Thank you.
This is wonderful. Thank you!
Focusing on the life-givers to the Hebrew people–Shiphrah, Puah, Jochabed, Miriam, and their ally the Pharaoh’s daughter. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage, ratification, and enactment of the 19th Amendment while recognizing that it was a step in a long process. Holding on to Audre Lord’s words, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even where her shackles are very different from my own.”
Love that quote, Alli. And love the focus on the life-givers. Blessings on your writing!