by Rev. Lenny Duncan
Greetings, Disrupt Worship fans:
I was supposed to give a fully fleshed-out synopsis, or perhaps well-rounded piece about the RCL this week. I am unabashedly in the same place as many of you; just not ok.
Like--if you aren’t ok this week, that’s ok. If the world seems like it just got colder, you didn’t make that up--it did. If it seems like, at the very least, the ideals of the republic died last week, that’s because they did. In a very tangible way, what it meant to be an American from 1964 to now--the only viable period of true American democracy--well, that’s over.
So, what the fuck do you preach on a week like this?
Beloved, I have no idea, but I know the RCL ain’t doing us any favors this week.
1 Samuel 3:1-10, 11-20
This is the text I am preaching on. Contextually speaking, this week the rest are a straight hot mess--emphasis on straight. But we will get to that later.
I’m preaching 1st Samuel; the classic ordination text, because I believe our people are being ordained into a new period of American Christianity. We find ourselves in the unfavorable position of Eli, a people who have completely failed in our priestly duties to defend the people from leaders such as we are seeing now, and from broken sin patterns like the one playing out from Lake Street to the halls of the Senate. Like Eli, when we are watching a nation crumble around us and we haven’t heard the voice of God in a while, we have to wonder what it sounds like. We need a prophet much like the nation of Israel did--or more accurately, prophets. I am preaching this text because I can relate to the heart-sickness of Eli this time around; the bereavement of being cast out of the presence of God. I can relate to that now in 2021 in a way I couldn’t in 2019. Much like Eli, I now place my hope in the generation of Prophets rising up behind me, and with them I share what little I know of this thing I call God. I hope it's enough to help them on their own perilous journey with the creator and liberation.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
You going to preach the psalm? Really?
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
In my opinion, you have two choices here. You can be a monster and reinforce heteronormative BS attributed to Paul’s ministry on like literally the worst week to crush Queer, Trans, or Two-Spirited folks who happen along your livestream, or you can have the moral and spiritual fortitude to flip this text on its head. You are a hero if you know all the ways to do this; explain there are several Pauls as writers, or that he gave different directions to different churches solely based on context, or all the other ways you can explain the sexual world of Paul to remind straight people they don't know what they are talking about. My advice? Leave it alone this week.
I mean, it’s another call story, but personally, I avoid John like the plague. Until the Christian church deals with the aggregate effect of this book on our Jewish siblings and its gross use by other pastors, I just refuse to preach John if I can get away with it. That’s hard as a RCL preacher; I get it. I have had John scholars DM me after saying this before. I’m into the effects on the ground on real people, not being theologically comforted. I’m just saying--if you ask me, it’s not the week to preach from the anti-Semite book, but it is another call story, and Jesus is in it. It’s a slam dunk if preached the same way I am preaching Samuel.
Anyway, the republic almost fell last week, so that’s all you get out of me.
You are doing so much better than you are giving yourself credit for.
Be gentle on yourselves and one another, Beloved.
Written in Liberation and Love
the Rev. Lenny Duncan +
This is the Revised Common Lectionary sermonizing archive.