In some Christian denominations the pastor’s hands are tied in terms of the passages she or he will preach on. For example, the Episcopalian Church and the Roman Catholic Church are required to follow the lectionary, which is a three-year cycle of Bible passages arranged by a large inter-denominational group. Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Methodists also follow the lectionary, but it is voluntary. In other words, I can go off of lectionary if I want to, but I usually don’t. So each week, the passage that I am preaching on is the same passage that many other local pastors are preaching on. It’s just one way that the larger Christian community maintains its connection with each other.
But these past two Sundays we went off lectionary. Two Sundays ago, we celebrated Holy Humor Sunday and Rev. Mickey Fenn preached on two passages that she thought were relevant to the day: 1 Samuel 16:6-13 and 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. Then last week we observed Earth Day and I chose two passages that I thought were connected: Genesis 1:1-2:4 and Luke 24:36-49. Of course, I realize that all of this isn’t a major concern for the congregation. But for me, the process of thinking about a theme and discerning which scripture speaks to it is fun.
All of this is to say, these theme-based worship services will keep coming. This Sunday, May 8th, we will be observing Gifts of Women Sunday. The scripture will be from John 4, Jesus’s conversation with the Samaritan Woman. The following Sunday, May 14th, our focus will be on Peacemaking and our scripture will be from Matthew 18. Toward the end of the month, on Sunday, May 29th, Elder Scott Eschbach will be preaching on Jesus’ statement to his disciples that the harvest is plenty and yet the workers are few. Finally, on Sunday, June 5, which is Pentecost, the Rev. Jim Seeber will be in the pulpit, preaching on the calling of the second half of life. His scripture focus will be Matthew 24:14-30, which is not the traditional Pentecost passage, and yet it speaks to the theme of being sent out.
Springtime is an active season. That is true in nature and it is true in our faith life. A month of creativity lies ahead—may God bless it richly!