Jesus on Sex
The lectionary has been a part of my life for 20 years. I love the flow and rhythm of the texts and the church year, the big story overlapping my story and the story going on in the life of the churches I have served. I love the interconnection of texts and songs, colors and symbols.
So to leave the assigned lectionary last year felt like I was abandoning ship. But the reason I(we) left the lectionary was a growing awareness that the avearge church member did not "get" the big story, did not get the heilsgeschicte of Old and New Testament. The 4 texts assigned out of various traditions were too subtle and sometimes, if a pastor alternated between Psalm, Epistle, Gospel and Old Testament, the person in the pew did not see the connection one Sunday to the next. So, we went overt: telling the story of the Old Testament from January to May. It was huge, overwhelming, foolish! Trying to spend one Sunday on creation and the next on sin was wild. But the response has been so strong. In addition to the cohesive topics, my wife Martha and her good friend JeanneHeckman installed altar-pieces to visually focus each worship service on the text. These I have photographed and blogged on at the mcchurch.org blog site.
The congregational attendance has grown and the comments have come back to me how much they appreciate getting the story in sequence. So, this past Fall we began to go through the life of Jesus the same way, only taking all year to do it: birth, baptism, temptation, call, etc.
For the past three weeks we have been examining Jesus' teaching style and topics: Beatitudes (blessed brokenness) Anger, and tomorrow "Lust." It's been an awful week, wrestling with a heart issue that is so destructive and alluring at the same time. Then the new of Ted Haggard hit the fan.
So the gift of the altar-piece this Sunday was particularly meaningful with its simple and elegant beauty in a tangled world of yuck. The essence of the text is gratitude. Gratitude is the polar opposite of both Lust and Covetting. When I lust and covet, I want what is not mine, nor should be mine. Yet the more I want "it" the more dissatisfied I become with all that God has already given me. If the problems you and I have can be solved by a check, they really are not problems. Lord teach me to be grateful for all you have supplied.