a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Sunday’s Coming: working toward November 13

These waning days of Ordinary Time can be so challenging–some of us are still wrapping up Stewardship campaigns (check out the Stewardship brainstorming conversation for ideas about dedication, consecration, actions of commitment, and maybe to collaborate on writing a litany if you still need one!). We also have a call to worship for a commitment Sunday–check it out if that’s you this week!

Some of us are working through the interminable Matthew parables, this week working on everyone’s favorite: the talents. There’s nothing quite like a stewardship commitment sermon on the text “to those who have, more will be given, and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” Oh, the prayers of confession we could write with that!

Maybe you’re detouring to Deborah this week, in keeping with the women who were prepared last week. She was certainly prepared–but for what? What do these women of prepared faith tell us in this time?

Maybe you’re still in Thessalonians, contemplating the end (or at least the end of the liturgical year!). What does a life lived “in the day” look like during these days of waning daylight in the northern hemisphere? How can we encourage one another as we enter this season of giving thanks (in the US)?

Do you have a direction? A liturgical need? A call to worship or a prayer of confession you want to share? A prayer of dedication for our talents, buried or invested? The perfect hymn idea?

Join the conversation as we create together.

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  1. I have written down that the theme this week is “we have the tools–will we use them?”
    Oh yeah, parable of the talents for stewardship sunday. that totally works, right?

    Okay, it sounded good when we planned it a long time ago, but now we’re struggling mightily. I’m definitely using that call to worship from Shannan! Everything else is about to be brand new…

  2. I’m preaching the parable of the talents. (Thankfully stewardship wrapped up last month!). Our lectionary BIble study struggled mightily with this yesterday. We were not content to read it as “use the gifts God has given you”, and we REALLY were not ok with interpreting God as the master here. Instead, this feels like a set up for the sheep and goats in the next pericope. I think Jesus is presenting the unscrupulous/greedy master as the image of how the world works before telling us how things will be reversed in God’s reign (note it is the master who says “for to all who have, more will be given…”, not Jesus. I don’t think it is the moral of the parable.).

    All of that being said, I am having a hard time with liturgy. If my reading of the parable inspires any of you, let me know!

  3. I don’t know, Laura…because it starts off (in the CEB anyway) with “the kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them….”
    I’m no fan of reading this parable where God is the master and we’re to be frightened into using our “talents”…but on the other hand, I wonder if it really ought to be read in some similar way–because when we look at the whole arc of scripture, God HAS entrusted us with more than we can imagine (5 talents was a couple of lifetimes worth of wages) and asked us to be good stewards. And there are people who misunderstand God and think “he” is vindictive and judgmental and coercive, and it can be read as saying that those people, like the “rich” in Luke’s woes (chapter 6) have received what they’re going to get…they have misunderstood the gift of God’s grace and trust, choosing instead a relationship based on fear or anger or self-interest, and so their relationship with God is marked only by their (wrong) understanding instead of by rejoicing.
    That was a really long winded way of explaining how we got to the theme of “we have the tools, will we use them?” LOL.
    Of course, writing liturgy for either our theme or yours is super difficult!!! These things make us so uncomfortable, who wants to pray about them or proclaim them in any way?
    I wonder if you could build a confession around the idea that what we value is productivity–we reward those who can do the most, be the best…but what God wants us to multiply is love/joy/peace/patience/kindness/generosity/faithfulness/goodness/self-control, not money or possessions.

  4. I see where you are coming from with it, Teri. I need to do more Greek work, because I’m still struck by the NRSV’s v. 14 “For it is as if a man…” and then leading to v. 31 “When the Son of Man comes in glory…” Feels like an intentional contrast.

    Given my current state of exegetical flux, I’ve decided to be more open for my prayer of confession:

    Call to Confession: We bring our lives to God – with our faults and failings -not so we will be made perfect, but to be made whole. Let us let go of the things that keep us from living as faithful disciples so that our lives might be open to receiving God’s grace. Please join me in our prayer of confession:

    Prayer of Confession (unison)
    Merciful God, for too long we have clung to those things that separate us from you, from others, and from our very selves… (silent prayer)

    Help us to let go… (silent prayer)

    Open our hearts to receive your grace… (silent prayer) Amen.

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