The Revised Common Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 9, 2007 (Lectionary 23)
- Deuteronomy 30:15–20
- Philemon 1:1–21
- Luke 14:25–33
Early look at the lessons.
Deuteronomy – The passage is part of the discourse of Moses before the people enter the “promised land”. It is full of “if-then” propositions. If you follow God, you will have life. If you do not follow God, you will perish in this land. One must ask if this was a specific instruction for that point in time or if it was for all time. The Church has consistently held that it is an instruction for all time. This is an important transitional time for the Hebrew people. It is as important as their escape and their freedom from Egypt. It marks a new beginning. Our congregation will be marking a new beginning of sorts also this Sunday, with our fall “kick-off”.
Philemon – Why did the Lectionary choosers decide to omit the last four verses of Philemon? Would it really have made any difference at all? Paul is in prison. He has been aided by the runaway slave, Onesimus. Paul appeals to Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a brother. The nature of Christian to Christian relationships is only hinted at here.
Luke – The passage ends with, “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” It is pretty hard teaching. It contradicts the approach I took last Sunday with the Gospel lesson, or does it. Certainly one of the realities that we see is that it is impossible for human beings to follow in this way … to become disciples through this manner. We are able to become disciples by God’s power alone. It is not a matter of what we do. Real trust in God is using God’s way to become a disciple, relying on God to do it rather than our accomplishments. But, a friend of mine asks, “Do we not live in that tension of free grace and costly discipleship? Is there a difference between believing in Jesus and being a disciple? Being an active church member — receiving Jesus in Word and Meal, and being a disciple?” Discipleship has significant costs.
The ELCA has used 7 Faith Practices for quite some time now, disciple actions.
- Pray frequently
- Invite others often
- Give freely
- Study Scripture diligently
- Serve for the sake of others
- Encourage one another
- Worship regularly
(I use this order to make remembering them easier. PIGS SEW)
Our congregation’s emerging mission statement focuses on 4 that are related. Learn: Become biblically literate and able to recognize God’s action in the world. Love – Care for the needs of one another. Serve – Care for the needs of people outside the congregation. Share – Speak about God’s action in the world in a way that others can hear.
As always at this point in the week, I’m not quite sure what part of this I will be preaching.