I have been off lectionary almost the entire time I have been back at work since Pearl was born. It's been different. In some ways I have liked picking Scripture that seems especially in tune to the local situation of our congregation. In other ways it has been very difficult. It's not been my usual style, and I've been outside of my comfort zone in preparing and writing. This has also made it difficult to stick to my new plan of getting my sermon at least mostly written before Saturday night. Well, I'm coming back to the lectionary for as long as I can imagine, so hopefully I'll be able to re-establish that routine I was getting myself into. It doesn't help that today is Tuesday, and I'm already a day behind since yesterday was my New Year's holiday. Oh well. I'll give it a shot.
I'm coming in on the Baptism of Jesus Sunday, not one of my favorites. These in between Sundays, Baptism of Jesus, Tfig, Trinity (OH especially Trinity!), and such are not my favorite preaching Sundays. Even when we're lucky enough to get another telling of the same story from a different gospel each year it is very hard for me to hear something new in them each time. I try to preach from the differences between the gospel accounts, so it isn't necessarily a sermon from the generic story, but a sermon from the particular text. I don't know how that will work this time.
It was going to be the celebration of the 5th year in our new church building, but I've been told we're delaying that a week. I had sort of worked it into my thoughts. This is also the week I'm announcing a new big mission project that will be our focus for the next 6-9 months. I sort of had an idea about the best way to honor our building and the church family it has fostered is to get out of it. I was hearing in the text the words that Jesus came FROM Galilee to Jordan. To start his ministry he had to leave his hometown. He had to get outside of his familiar walls, be doused in the water and the Holy Spirit, and then be sent out to do his ministry.
I just peeked ahead to next week to see what I can do with the building piece if I go this way with the Baptism of Jesus. I love 1 Cor. 1:1-9 in which Paul gives thanks for the community, and how they have been enriched in Jesus and are not lacking in any spiritual gift. I think I'll run with that and have the service be a thanksgiving of all the gifts among our congregation, our new building for one, but then the community it has fostered.
I think I'm good to go! Jesus needed to leave home to start his ministry this week. Spiritual gifts and the strength of the community in Christ next week!
I'm so glad to be back to working WITH the community of preachers. It feels so so good!