I would like to say that I am one of those preachers who arrives at the task of preaching with a firm plan in mind right from the very beginning, but I’m not. Instead I am one of those people who looks for a good trail of bread crumbs and hopes there is something well-baked at the end. This week there are a number of good paths to follow in the lectionaries and plenty to consider in the news of the day.
The Revised Common Lectionary gives us so much material, it may be hard to choose. There’s that incredible conversation in the Garden when God confronts Adam and Eve about their behavior and they both try to pass on the blame. “It wasn’t me God! It was that woman you gave me! That snake you created!” The Psalm proclaims God’s steadfast love and the Corinthians text reminds us to not lose heart. All three of these texts may lead you to preach about national concerns, particularly the anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre in 1921. Depending on your context you may be led to preach a word of assurance or a call to acknowledge the past with a strong sense of responsibility for the future.
The RCL is also where we return to Mark to hear about Mary and the boys coming to fetch Jesus. They are concerned for his mental health and lack of self-preservation. There are lots of crumbs to follow including the reminder that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
The Narrative Lectionary lifts up the potter and the clay from Jeremiah. Steed Davidson at Working Preacher points out that the image reminds us that it is possible to start over when things go wrong; when the pot is misshapen or flawed. At the same time, he says, “The clay is not always responsive to the potter’s molding and in fact, frustrates the potter, forcing constant revisions.”
May your preparations be blessed dear reader. Each of us comes to this task knowing that we aren’t the potter, we’re the clay. We’re no better or worse than Eve or Adam. Yet, God has entrusted you with the task of proclaiming a good word- not an easy word that simply consoles, but a word that can strengthen and nourish for the road that lies ahead.