Friday, July 14, 2017

Lectionary Thoughts for Sunday 7/16/17

This Sunday's readings is one of those days where the preacher pretty much gets to preach on one topic, whether he wants to or not. It is pretty much creation and sowing of seeds. All the readings have that theme very clearly. The gospel in particular is the parable of the sower, and being from Matthew, there is not a lot of room for ambiguity because Jesus even explains what he means in the parable afterward for the hard headed disciples.

So, really, the preacher is in a bit of a bind if he does not want to preach about sowing seeds. The Lectionary seems to be making the homilist an offer he can't refuse. Or, if the homilist really wants be unpopular, can use the imagery from Romans of the creation groaning in labor pains until now.

Fun stuff that.

The Protestant Revised Common Lectionary uses the same Gospel and Old Testament reading, but some different verses from Romans (though the same chapter).

So, regardless of whether you go to a Protestant church or a Catholic mass, be prepared to hear about farming analogies and stuff about plants and seeds and/or weeds. I imagine this is a challenge in urban areas where people have no idea where their food comes from and think that milk is manufactured in the back of grocery stores like Kool-aid.

If I was advising a preacher on what to preach on, I might actually suggest the psalm as a primary text, if one did not feel all that enthused about seeds and sowing. Psalm 65 has some interesting agricultural imagery, but not of the seed sowing/weed variety.

You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God's watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.

Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.

You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.

The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.

I think that imagery of watercourses being filled and breaking up clods has potential. What does it mean for God or a parish to break up the clods or make entry into untilled meadows of mission work or societal need. If I was preaching, that might be the avenue I would go down. Summer is a slow time in many parishes, so a discussion or homily on what to do during the summer to get closer to God might also be an interesting twist, like Lent in July or something.

Seeing as a well known cable channel is playing Christmas in July movies, that might actually be an interesting image to use.

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