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Year B in the Revised Common Lectionary.
As I have been announcing for the last month, Aimee and I (as well as my friend John Turnquist who graciously reads and proofs these posts before publication) are going to take a hiatus this summer. We will not leave you abandoned, however. There are lots of good options to consider. I will share three series first, then, for those who stick with the lectionary, I will post a list of every Sunday and the texts, with links.
Consider a study of 2 Corinthians in sermon or Bible study
A Heart for Reconciliation: A Walk Through 2 Corinthians
Pentecost 2B – June 6, 2021. 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed daily. (Gospel: Mark 3:20-35 – A house divided cannot stand. All sins forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.)
Pentecost 3B – June 13, 2021. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17– We walk by faith and not by sight, at home in the body and away from the Lord. (Gospel: Mark 4:26-34– The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.)
Pentecost 4B – June 20, 2021. 2 Corinthians 6:1-13– Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. We have endured beatings, riots, hunger, imprisonment… (Gospel: Mark 4:35-41– Jesus calms the sea: Peace. Be still.)
Pentecost 5B – June 27, 2021. 2 Corinthians 8:7-15– During a severe ordeal of affliction, the Macedonian’s joy and poverty overflow in a wealth of generosity. (Gospel: Mark 5:21-43 – They come to the house of Jairus, where they heal his daughter and then the woman with the hemorrhage.)
Pentecost 6B – July 4, 2021. 2 Corinthians 12:2-10– Paul’s out of body experience, and his thorn in the flesh. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
(Gospel: Mark 6:1-13– A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house. Jesus sends the twelve two-by-two.)
Tom Rainer’s The Post-Quarantine Church
Rainer is a well-known church consultant. He wrote this in 2020, but it’s based on pretty solid stuff. He doesn’t offer facile answers, but asks the right questions, suggests pivots, and makes six key challenges. The Post-Quarantine Church is easy to read. Duane Utech and Pastor Barb Bartling from Holy Comforter read this book with their leadership and recommended it. I have read it. There are six challenges in the book, based on things we have learned and experienced during the pandemic.
Challenge 1: Gather differently and better
Challenge 2: Seize your opportunity to reach the digital world
Challenge 3: Reconnect with the community near your church
Challenge 4: Take prayer to a new and powerful level
Challenge 5: Rethink your facilities for emerging opportunities
Challenge 6: Make lasting changes that will make a difference
We have a tremendous opportunity to rethink mission and ministry. A window of creativity and innovation opened, but it is rapidly closing. The pandemic made us realize we can be the church without our buildings. Nevertheless, the building can be a tool for ministry. How are we using it? Many churches have a 10% occupancy rate during the week. How are you using your building as a community center? Do prohibition signs (don’t do this; don’t touch that) send a message of inhospitality? What did you learn about connecting with your community during the pandemic? What was the role of prayer? How will we engage digital ministry? Will it ever be an afterthought again? We now have an opportunity to the some of the best ministry we have ever done, if we will rise to the challenge. Can we give up the busy-ness and simply, focus?
You are planting a new church. Consider setting aside six weeks, one for each of Rainer’s challenges. Invite people to join small group discussions to bat the ideas around. Use it as a time of listening to gear up for a new season of ministry.
5 Weeks of Bread Texts
Pentecost 9B – July 25, 2021. John 6:1-21 – Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus walks on water. (First lesson: David and Bathsheba.
Pentecost 10B – August 1, 2021. John 6:24-35 – I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry.
Pentecost 11B – August 8, 2021. John 6:35, 41-51 – I am the bread of life, the living bread which comes down from heaven. No one comes unless the Father draws, and I will raise you up on the last day.
Pentecost 12B – August 15, 2021. John 6:51-58 – Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. The one who eats this bread will live forever.
Pentecost 13B – August 22, 2021. John 6:56-69 – Eat my flesh for eternal life. This is a difficult teaching; who can accept it? Does this bother you? Do you also wish to go away? Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…
JUNE, JULY or AUGUST
Thriving Beyond COVID
If you’re even moderately good at math, you already see that there are more Sundays above in these series than will fit in the summer. 5 weeks on 2 Corinthians, 6 weeks in the Post-Quarantine Church, and 5 weeks of bread texts is 16 weeks. You only get 12 or 13, depending on when you kick off the fall. So, choose two of those three, and then toss in a 3-4 week series on Thriving Beyond COVID.
Thriving Beyond COVID is a series of Bible studies created by Pastor Jeff Linman in Orlando. Jeff uses Hebrews 12, Ephesians 3, Matthew 14, and John 5 to spark some reflection on the last year and where the Spirit might be leading the church ahead. Set up a series of online Bible studies, and ask those groups to share their thoughts. Attend at least one of those group studies. It’s easier than ever since most things are still online. Then preach 3-4 sermons on those texts.
(By the way, I suggest, not as a sermon series, but as a good read, Susan Beaumont’s How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going. There are times in history where change is so profound and rapid, we really don’t have a crystal ball. How do you lead when you can’t see the destination clearly? Beaumont offers great wisdom for us.)
So, plan your summer. Take a couple of days and hole up at a cabin at Lutherhill or Zion Retreat Center and sketch out your sermons for the summer. It can be a fun and rewarding time. Working this far ahead gives you time for creativity and thinking outside the box. Renew your spirit and get in touch with why you were called to this work in the first place.
TEXTS FOR THE TIME AFTER PENTECOST B
And hey, if you’re a purist, go-by-the-book lectionary kind of person, there are plenty of rich texts to consider. On Trinity, Jesus says the Spirit blows where it wills. We have Jesus asleep in the boat: “Peace. Be still.” The woman’s 12-year blood flow. David and Goliath. And much more.
The dates with links take you to some of my earlier commentary on the texts. Use whatever you can as you wish.
Trinity – May 30, 2021
When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasures gives joy, that joy gives love, and the love is the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 6:1-8– Call of Isaiah. Six-winged seraph. Holy, holy, holy.
Psalm 29 – Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Ps. 29:2)
Romans 8:12-17– Life in the Spirit. Present suffering incomparable to the glory to be revealed. Creation eagerly waits… in labor?
John 3:1-17 – Nicodemus. Being born of the Spirit, which blows where it wills.
Pentecost 2B – June 6, 2021
1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15) – The people ask for a king to succeed Samuel, despite his warnings.
Genesis 3:8- Because Adam and Eve have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent is cursed, the woman must have pain in childbirth, the ground is cursed with thistles and whatnot, and Adam is sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor by farming, until he returns to the dust.
Psalm 138 – I will give thanks to you O Lord with my whole heart.
Psalm 130 – Out of the depths I cry to you. Lord, hear my voice.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed daily.
Mark 3:20-35 – The crowd was so large, they couldn’t eat. His family came out to restrain him, for the people said he was out of his mind. Can Satan cast out Satan? A house divided cannot stand. All sins forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Those who do God’s will are my brother, sister and mother.
Pentecost 3B – June 13, 2021
1 Samuel 15:34-16:13– Samuel anoints David and the Spirit falls mightily upon him.
Ezekiel 17:22-24– I will dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. The high tree will be brought low, and the low high.
Psalm 20– Some take pride in horses and chariots, but our pride is in the name of the Lord God.
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15– The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:11)
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17– We walk by faith and not by sight, at home in the body and away from the Lord.
Mark 4:26-34 – The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which so small, yet grows and provides branches for the birds to make nests.
- June 14 is the Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine.
- June 19, 1865 is Juneteenth. More info HERE.
Pentecost 4B – June 20, 2021
1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49 – David and Goliath: The Lord who saved me from the lion and the bear will deliver me from this Philistine.
I Samuel 17:57 – 18:5, 10-16 – Jonathan loved David. Saul tries to kill David.
Job 38:1-11– The Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind: Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Psalm 9:9-20 – The Lord judges the nations.
Psalm 133– How good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32 – God stilled the storm and quieted the waves of the sea. (Ps. 107:29)
2 Corinthians 6:1-13– Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. We have endured beatings, riots, hunger, imprisonment…
Mark 4:35-41– Jesus asleep in the boat, wakes and calms the sea: Peace. Be still.
Pentecost 5B – June 27, 2021
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27– David mourns for Saul, the glory of Israel, and for Jonathan: Your love to me surpassed the love of women.
Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24 – God did not make death. God does not delight in death. Death came into the world through the devil.
Psalm 130 – I will exalt you, O LORD, because you have lifted me up. (Ps. 30:1)
Psalm 30– God’s anger is for a moment; his favor for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes in the morning.
Lamentations 3:23-33– The steadfast love of the lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.
2 Corinthians 8:7-15– During a severe ordeal of affliction, the Macedonians joy and poverty overflow in a wealth of generosity.
Mark 5:21-43 – Inclusio: Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the 12-year hemorrhage.
Pentecost 6B – July 4, 2021
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10– The elders make a covenant with David and anoint him.
Ezekiel 2:1-5 – Call of Ezekiel: Whether they hear or not, they shall know a prophet has been among them.
Psalm 48– The city of Zion is established forever.
Psalm 123– Our eyes look to you, O God, until you show us your mercy. (Ps. 123:3)
2 Corinthians 12:2-10– Paul’s out of body experience, and his thorn in the flesh. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Mark 6:1-13– A prophet is not without honor except in his own country. Jesus sends the twelve two-by-two.
Pentecost 7B – July 11, 2021 OR Herod’s Banquet
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19– David dances before the ark in a linen ephod.
Amos 7:7-15– Amos’ vision: God sets a plumb line amidst the people of Israel
Psalm 24– The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.
Psalm 85:8-13 – I will listen to what the LORD God is saying. (Ps. 85:8)
Ephesians 1:3-14– The sentence that never ends: Blessed be God who chose us before the foundation of the world, destined us for adoption, as a plan for the fullness of time to gather all things in him…
Mark 6:14-29– Herod, Herodias and John the Baptist’s head on a platter.
Pentecost 8B – July 18, 2021 OR Pause
2 Samuel 7:1-14a– David wants to build God’s house, but God will establish David’s house, his offspring.
Jeremiah 23:1-6– Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! The days are coming when I will raise up from David a righteous branch.
Psalm 89:20-37– I anointed my servant David, and my hand will always be with him.
Psalm 23– The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)
Ephesians 2:11-22 – You uncircumcised were once strangers to the covenant, without hope, without God. You who were far off have been brought near. He has abolished the law with its commands and ordinances, that he might create one humanity out of two. No longer strangers.
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56– Jesus to his disciples: “Come away to a deserted place and rest for a while.”
Pentecost 9B – July 25, 2021
2 Samuel 11:1-15 – David and Bathsheba
2 Kings 4:42-44 – Elisha feeds the people with 20 loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain.
Psalm 14– There is no one who does good, no not one
Psalm 145:10-18 – You open wide your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature. (Ps. 145:17)
Ephesians 3:14-21 – I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
John 6:1-21 – Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus walks on water.
Pentecost 10B – August 1, 2021 OR Bread is All I Need from Day to Day
2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a – The prophet Nathan comes to David to declare God’s judgment on him for killing Uriah: “You are the man.”
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 – Manna from heaven.
Psalm 51:1-12 – Create in me a clean heart O God…
Psalm 78:23-29 – The LORD rained down manna upon them to eat. (Ps. 78:24)
Ephesians 4:1-16 – Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are to equip the saints for ministry until we all arrive at unity of faith and spiritual maturity.
John 6:24-35 – I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry.
Pentecost 11B – August 8, 2021, Bread is Relationship
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 – The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
1 Kings 19:4-8 – Angels feed Elijah in the wilderness.
Psalm 130 – Out of the depths I cry to you.
Psalm 34:1-8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Ps. 34:8)
Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2– Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger… Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up… And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
John 6:35, 41-51 – I am the bread of life, the living bread which comes down from heaven. No one comes unless the Father draws, and I will raise you up on the last day.
Pentecost 12B – August 15, 2021, Bread is Hope
1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 – David dies. God offers Solomon anything. Solomon asks for wisdom.
Proverbs 9:1-6– Wisdom has built her house.
Psalm 111– The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Psalm 34:9-14– Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Ephesians 5:15-20 – Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.
John 6:51-58 – Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. The one who eats this bread will live forever.
Pentecost 13B – August 22, 2021, Bread is Living Beyond Myself
1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43 – Solomon’s temple.
Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 – Choose this day whom you shall serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Psalm 84 – How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.
Psalm 34:15-22 – The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous. (Ps. 34:15)
Ephesians 6:10-20 – Put on the full armor of God.
John 6:56-69 – Eat my flesh for eternal life. This is a difficult teaching; who can accept it? Does this bother you? Do you also wish to go away? Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…
August 25-26, 2017 is when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.
August 27-28, 2020 Hurricane Laura hit, destroying the sanctuary of St. Paul Lake Charles.
Pentecost 14B – August 29, 2021 – Post suggests a possible series on James for September.
Song of Solomon 2:8-13 – My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 – Observe my statutes/ordinances as you enter the land. Teach it to your children.
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9 – Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
Psalm 15 – Do not lend money at interest. LORD, who may dwell in your tabernacle? (Ps. 15:1)
James 1:17-27 – Be quick to listen, slow to speak. Giving. Slow to anger. Be doers of the word, not just hearers. Pure religion: Care for orphans and widows.
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 – Jesus: It is not what goes in, but what comes out that defiles. Jesus eats with unwashed hands.
August 28, 2012 is the anniversary of Hurricane Isaac.
August 29, 2005 is the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
September 1, 2008 is the anniversary of Hurricane Gustav.