This is a little guide for preachers who preach the lectionary, a little wind in the sails for those who might not make it to Sunday prepared. I’ll give you a push, and you steer your way into the pulpit. What I’ve given you here are (1) cluster of themes that emerge from the readings, (2) a few leading questions and (3) a few helpful links.
Next week’s chosen readings (for October 19, 2014) are Exodus 33.12-23, Psalm 99, 1 Thessalonians 1.1-10, Matthew 22.15-22.
Topics addressed by these verses include: Jesus’s wisdom, flattery, paying taxes, nationalism, what God requires of us, complaints to God, God equipping the called, favour with God, desire to know God’s ways, God chooses a nation, presence of God with his people, Is God fickle or capricious, seeing God’s face, Lord and the nations, God’s throne, God’s awesome name, God’s justice, worship at God’s footstool, God as Father, faith, hope, and love, gospel comes in power, spirit, and wisdom, being joyful in adversity, being influencers by our faith, conversion from idols to the true and living God, Jesus delivered us from the coming wrath. Themes converge most potently around worship of God vs. our national idols or following God’s ways, which are always better than the ways of politicians.
If you choose to focus your message on worship of God vs. worship of our national idols, think about these questions (disclaimer, this is a sermon worth praying and fasting over, and using holy prudence):
- What are a few idols that you tend to succumb to, and what negative effects do they have on you?
- Try to come up with 8-10 national idols that we struggle with as nation and get ready to be brave in naming them. What harm do these national idols inflict on us?
- What do the chosen scriptures (above) say about our worship of God vs. worship of national idols? What is the connection in these verses between a prosperous nation and following God’s ways?
- What advice do you have for your congregants in resisting the worship of national idols; think of three or four practical suggestions.
- What do you think our country would look like if we cast down our national idols and worshipped God alone?
Here are some helpful links as you think through these questions: