Preaching on Stewardship- Reformation Sunday- October 29, 2017

Every Monday I share a few tidbits, nuggets, or ideas for incorporating some stewardship themes in your preaching. This week’s stewardship nuggets based on the appointed readings by the Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary are as follows:

Sunday October 29, 2017: Revised Common Lectionary- Reformation Sunday
First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 46
Second Lesson: Romans 3:19-28
Gospel of John 8:31-36

On this 500th anniversary of the start of the commemoration of the Reformation, let us dwell in what it means to be made free in Christ (John 8:36), and the gift that is this freedom through God’s grace (Romans 3:24).

With this freedom, how do we live our lives changed, joyfully and gratefully serving God and sharing this good news and freedom with others? How are we stewards of the on-going, ever-forming and reforming church? 

luther 95
One artist’s depiction of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church doors in Wittenberg.

How do we share the good news that all of God’s work for us, is a gift we cannot earn? How can we share in the good news of Paul in his letter to the Romans which gave Martin Luther such hope, “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law” (Romans 3:28, NRSV).

With the psalmist we know that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change…” (Psalm 46:1-2, NRSV). Change is a constant in the church, and in life. Even so, we remember the words of the psalmist which gave Martin Luther comfort and pause, “‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:10-11, NRSV).

Reformation Sunday this year is special given the 500th commemoration.  How can we remember that we all are people of God, wherever we might fall on the spectrum of the church? I tend to be believe that our God is a big God, and when we hear from Jeremiah that, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33, NRSV), God is talking to all of God’s people. This matters for the scope of our stewardship, doesn’t it.

Any of these questions or insights might make for a powerful and timely stewardship sermon on Reformation. Wherever you feel led to preach, may God be with you, and God’s love and grace be made known through you.

Sunday October 29, 2017: Narrative Lectionary
Narrative Theme for the Day: Solomon’s Temple  (Year 4, Week 8)
Focus Passages: 1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-13
Gospel Verse: John 2:19-21

Temples, buildings, tents, bodies… God uses all of this, and so much more to do God’s work. Sometimes even God does God’s work even in spite of these things, and the potential excuses or barriers they might make. On this 500th anniversary of the commemoration of the start of the Reformation, it is important to remember that it is God’s action in the world, not ours. All we do, is the response to God’s work and gifts.

When the temple is talked about, it’s not about Solomon. It’s about God. It’s a response to God’s work, gifts, and promises, when we read, “So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God…” (1 Kings 5:5, NRSV). Or when we read, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever” (1 Kings 8:12-13, NRSV).

How is your context where you worship a physical response to God’s work, gifts, and promises? How are you a steward of the on-going Reformation of God’s church? Good questions to ponder, along with the other ones above.

Wherever you may be led to preach this week, may God’s grace and love be made known through you.

Image Credit: Martin Luther and the 95 Theses 

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