Revised Common Lectionary: The Beauty and Peril of the Tribe

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a tribe is “a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers.” According to my entirely unscientific and utterly subjective recall: I first encountered the word “tribe” in the context of after-school TV reruns of wild West shows from the 50’s and 60’s.… Read More

Revised Common Lectionary: Unexpected Points of Connection

On this Sunday in which the northern hemisphere is in deep summer, images of new life and growth show up in our lectionary offerings. In our journey through Genesis, Jacob is on a road trip, fleeing the furious twin from whom he finagled a birthright and stole a blessing. With a stone for a pillow,… Read More

RCL: Without Ever Knowing the Way

The Revised Common Lectionary year A offers the opportunity to sojourn with the family saga that makes up most of the book of Genesis. Sadly, the first entry in the saga is not in use this year (Ordinary 10A), in which Abram and Sarai receive their call from God to get up and go. By… Read More

RCL: Love, Orphans, Comfort

This post might as well begin with a true confession: I’ve had a conflict-laden relationship with gospel according to John, and the long passage known as the “Farewell Discourse” of Jesus (chapters 14 through 17) hasn’t helped much. I made an uneasy peace years back, and my affection for the outlier of the four gospels… Read More

RCL: The Road Home

The gospel of Luke continues the story of Easter Sunday with a resurrection appearance unique to this gospel. Following the events of early morning that first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples decide to go home. I wonder why? Is it just because this was their plan all along—to go home after the… Read More

Revised Common Lectionary: Come to the Water

I love this passage (John 4:5-42) so much, it is hard to approach it with anything resembling even-handedness. The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well was the appointed gospel lesson for my first-ever preaching experience (Lent 3A, 1990). And thanks to the chaplain who craftily invited me to give a homily… Read More

Revised Common Lectionary: On the Law

Last Sunday’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount ended with Jesus’ assurance that he did not come to abolish the law. He assured his listeners that, to use the King James language, not “one jot or one tittle” would pass from the law, until all was fulfilled. The understanding of Jesus as “lawgiver” is… Read More

RCL: God Calling

My call story involves an Amy Grant song and Route 128 in Massachusetts. I was already enrolled in a graduate program in Pastoral Ministry. I had been thinking of it as a useful prelude to what I thought I wanted to do: study Jungian psychotherapy. Then, one fall day I found myself driving to the… Read More

RCL: Origin Stories

In her final, beautiful book, the late, luminous Rachel Held Evans wrote, The role of origin stories, both in the ancient Near Eastern culture from which the Old Testament emerged and at that familiar kitchen table where you first learned how your grandparents met, is to enlighten the present by recalling the past. Origin stories… Read More

RCL: We Can Work it Out

This morning as I was pondering the interesting mix of texts on offer, I had a sudden realization: these were the Revised Common Lectionary texts for Sunday November 13, 2016– the Sunday following the U.S. presidential election. I chose then as I choose this week, to use the Isaiah and Luke texts. About two-thirds of… Read More