Sunday, August 21, 2016

some future plans

So, today in church, the person who has been filling the pulpit came up to me and asked: I'm going to be away on September 11, could you fill the pulpit?

I didn't have any thing that is pulling me away at that time, and it's a few weeks' lead-time, so I said yes. And I said I'd check the lectionary, or that I had a few ideas.

(Yes, it is September 11. I don't want to do anything on "The Christian response to that day" or anything like because it's all been said before by people more articulate than I, and I just don't want to do it. I will probably make some oblique reference in the "pastoral" prayer (I'm not ordained so I don't think it can really be called a "pastoral" prayer) but that will be it).

I did have one idea that had been knocking around in my head since doing a Sunday school lesson on it: another look at the parable of the Prodigal Son, from the standpoint that there we actually see TWO ways people get "lost" in there. There's the obvious one - the son who begs for his inheritance early and then goes and spends it on, as some translations say, "riotous living" but then comes back and begs forgiveness. But there is the older son....and he gets lost too, and the way the story ends, it sounds like he could STILL be lost. Because he came to resent his brother and feel taken for granted - "Why did you kill the fatted calf for that slacker? I've been here, working all the time...helpin' out the way I can, nothin' special...." And that's arguably a more-dangerous way a person can get "lost" because it's less "obvious" - and it's a lost they bring emotionally upon themselves.

and also it's a kind of "lost" I risk getting sometimes; it's very easy for me to feel taken-for-granted and ignored and frustrated because I'm ALWAYS the "responsible" one who puts in extra work (or so it seems) and mops up for the people who "forget" or "are tired" or "something else came up" for.

So I'm going to be as much talking to myself as to anyone else, and sometimes it seems that's a making for a good sermon.

Anyway. I had thought of that (because I had been warned that at some point I might be asked to fill in). But I thought: better to check the lectionary for that day.

I just did. Guess what the Gospel reading for that day is? Luke 15:1-10, which is the passage immediately before the parable of the prodigal son (it's the lost sheep and the lost coin, and I can easily riff on the lost coin one, as someone who is good at misplacing things). And I'll just continue on into the Prodigal Son from there; twenty or so verses is not too much for a scripture reading.

They say coincidence is sometimes God winking at you.....

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