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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