As you watched, no doubt with horror, the violence that took place in the United States capitol today, you may have found yourself shredding your partially written sermon and wondering how you can possibly preach into this abyss. There are no tidy answers here, but we can keep one another company as we struggle with bringing a word to our people this week.
The Narrative Lectionary text for this week warns of disruption and destruction. You may be struggling to name how God is at work as everything seems to be unraveling. The Revised Common Lectionary gospel offers a wild man of the wilderness pointing far outside himself to find a source of hope.
How are you being called to preach this week? What words will you use to point toward hope in the middle of disruption and destruction? Here is a place to share questions, ideas, and drafts of your sermons in progress. Here is the place to turn for mutual support and encouragement as we seek a word to bring to our people.
Barbara Bruneau is a retired Lutheran pastor, living in southeastern Minnesota. She is a knitter, a weaver, and a very occasional blogger at An Explosion of Texture and Color.
Photo by David Garrison from Pexels
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10 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Where Do We Go from Here?”
Looking for a good way to approach the text that is relevant without being partisan… I have a mixed group to preach to, some of whom cannot tolerate politics or current events in church at all (AT ALL) without being emotionally and viscerally affected. Sigh. I like the emphasis on a man of charisma who points outside himself to the One Divine Savior. Not at all the direction I planned before this dismal day on Capitol Hill.
Based on your description of your context, that sounds like an approach to gently lead them beyond their current comfort zone.
I’m going to talk about how stories shape us – both the ones we tell and the ones we don’t. By chance, I am starting a forum series on Phyllis Trible’s Text of Terror and so I have been thinking about why it is important that these stories are in the bible (Hagar, Tamar, Jephthah’s daughter, unnamed concubine). I also think that what happened at the capitol yesterday stems partly from the way we have told our national story (and what we have left out). The preaching text is the baptism of Jesus from Mark’s gospel and scholars will tell you that the early church really struggled with this story and were somewhat embarassed by it because of how it portrayed Jesus – but they still told it. So, what does Jesus baptism story have to teach us about our world – and what do we need to learn about our national story – especially the parts that are hard or embarassing.
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That sounds powerful. If you post your sermons in a blog of some sort, I’d love to see a link to it once you’re done.
Thanks for the encouragement. As I sit to put this together, I’m a little intimidated.
I’d planned to preach on the Genesis 1 lectionary text, with references to baptism. So…I’m thinking about God bringing order out of chaos, and that although we aren’t the Creator, we are made in the Creator’s image, so how might we be called to bring a kind of order out of this chaos (or maybe instead of chaos, I’ll describe it as a kind of order that opposes God’s order). And, how do we live out our baptismal vows to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we do that work of making order (sadly, I need to be carefully explicit about this, because while most of my people will hear it the way it’s intended, there’s one or two who will apply it the opposite way and use it to say that the mob participants were the ones resisting injustice). Also thinking about formation–God’s words formed creation; how were those who chose to become part of that mob formed, what words shaped them, how might we be complicit in that?
So…lots of thoughts but a LOT of work still to do to put everything together.
It sounds like you have some really interesting lines of thinking in progress. It will be good to see how they all come together.
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I’m procrastinating. I’m preaching tomorrow for a church whose pastor just answered a call to a Presbytery position (she will be AMAZING). This is their second Sunday since her last. It’s installation Sunday, so there will be an installation of officers (which is just now reminding me the sermon should probably be shorter to accommodate time), and we’ve just come through one crazy week. Leadership is my focus (was before this, but the GA run-off and the events in the Capitol solidified it). Two profiles in leadership in John and Jesus: courageous and compassionate, authentic and humble, blessed and blessing. That will be my focus, but after listening to the Pulpit Fiction podcast, I’m thinking I’ll start by expanding the pericope to include vs. 1 and talk about the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God and the political implications that phrase had for the people of that time, and how the Good News begins in the gospel of Mark with John coming out of the wilderness. I think something has to be said about the wilderness we have found ourselves in long term … that the congregation whose leader has just left finds itself in … and the wilderness of this week. (don’t mind me … just over here thinking out loud) I really need the courage and articulation of Austin Shelly right now, I’m not gonna lie. Here we go!
Also … need to write the Sunday Prayer and post it. Looking for words ……
Still much to do, but about half way there, and I reached out to Austin. What a blessing she is! ❤
I was, to use a biblical phrase, distracted by many things yesterday. So I missed your comment when you first submitted it. I think your focus on leadership is perfect not only for this time but also for a congregation that is facing the prospect of finding a new pastoral leader. My prayers go with you as they do with all who are preaching this weekend.
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