Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lectionary for January 31st, 2010: Epiphany 4 Year C

Jer 1:4-10 (1/1)**, Ps 71:1-6 (1/1)**, 1 Cor 13:1-13 (1)*, Lk 4:21-30 (1)*

* (x) indicates the text in question occurs ‘x’ number of times in the 3 year lectionary cycle

** (x/y) indicates the text in question occurs 'x' number '' '' '' with 'y' number of optional occurrences additionally

The reading from Luke continues where it left off mid story from last week. Epiphany 5 (next week) will pick up with Lk 5:1-11.

  • The lectionary completely omits Luke 4:31-44 (the intervening material), which follows Mk 1: 21-39 (Epiphany 4 and 5, Year B). This has the effect of highlighting Luke's unique accounts for preachers at the expense of telling all of Luke's story.

This week, the 1st Corinthians series brings us to the most popular Biblical text for weddings.

  • Those who regard this text as overused at weddings might have good reason to avoid preaching it today. However, having it come up outside a wedding offers unique opportunities too.

  • Preaching this text in series offers an opportunity to speak directly about the gifts of the Spirit, which were explored in 1 Cor 12 on Epiphany 2 and 3. If this route is chosen, keep in mind that 1 Cor 14 (which synthesizes 1 Cor 12 and 13) is omitted from the lectionary, and may be brought into a sermon to good effect.

Psalm 71 caught my attention. It is one of the lesser used psalms in the lectionary, being used only once. However, most of the psalm is left out on those occasions it is used. Perhaps this was for the sake of brevity. Perhaps this was to focus on the percieved core of the psalm. Perhaps this was to avoid the one or two hard verses which come up in it. However, there is valuable material in the rest of this psalm. Consider using it.

The opening verses of Jeremiah are wonderful verses having to do with the calling of a child to preach the Word of the Lord. It is a pity they are only used once in the lectionary, but they are hardly alone in that. However, this is even an abreviated form of the calling passage, which continues through the end of the chapter. For those not interested in dealing with the dark foretaste of Jeremiah's sermon material, a simple extension of the passage to verse 12 will accomplish this.

Please pardon the formatting issues. This will be addressed as soon as my computer begins to behave again...

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