This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on November 20th, 2016.
The final few chapters of Luke’s Gospel places an emphasis on reversing the expectations of the hearers. The Gospel reading from last week promised God’s nearness in our troubles, that even when we can’t escape our sufferings, God endures along with us. One of the details we tend to remember of the crucifixion story is when Jesus felt abandoned by God. However, Luke’s narrative excludes that moment, choosing instead to elaborate on the notion of God’s nearness in the midst of suffering. It’s certainly not what one would expect.
Recalling last week’s Gospel reading (Luke 21), Jesus describes the course of events to unfold for his followers. We come to discover in brutally, eerie fashion, that Jesus ends up experiencing much of what he predicted they would experience in the years to come; persecution, trials, and imprisonment. Just as the temple will be torn down, so this week we see the guards tearing down Jesus, garments and all. Not what one would expect of God’s Messiah.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on December 20, 2015.
My wife is a classically trained musician and has been playing piano since she was 4 years old. I, on the other hand, had about a year of piano when I was a child, and the only instrument I am capable of operating is a sound board – a place where I have a lot of experience.
Nevertheless I have long had an intense appreciation and enjoyment of good music, and I have come to appreciate using music to help put me in the right place for worship (All Sons and Daughters has become a Sunday morning routine before church), but also in the preparation of writing.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on December 13, 2015.
“You brood of vipers!”
What pastor has the courage, or probably more likely the foolishness, to proclaim this from the pulpit? I might try it for a dramatic entrance, but I am likely not going to be so bold as to actually back that abrupt intro with the exhortation fervor of John the Baptist. Perhaps I might let John’s words echo in the room for a moment, before softening their effect by redirecting them to John’s audience rather than my own.
John takes no such soft approaches, and it makes the exhortative words quite confrontational to our ears just over two weeks before Christmas. This passage flies in the face of the Joy theme of the third week of Advent.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on December 6, 2015.
Each year after Thanksgiving, my family and I start our preparations for the season of Christmas. We have our “traditions” if you will. Naturally we start with the tree, which is decorated with a menagerie of ornaments collected over the last 30 years: the felt Snoopy I made in kindergarten, the ornament we bought at Disney World in 2002, paper chains made by our kids several years ago, and ornaments with baby photos of each child from their most cherub-like years.
We play Christmas music, drink our only cup of eggnog for the entire season, and as a family we hang our memories on the tree. This is how we begin the preparations for Christmas.