Tuesday, September 07, 2010

creationary: lost coins, lost sheep

A creationary: a space to be creative with the lectionary. For more resources go here.

With the lectionary text for Sunday being Luke 15:1-10 or Luke 15:1-32, here are some resources I’ve used previously, buried in my blog archives, that might be useful.

First, here is a missional pondering on Luke 15, in which I tease out some of the potentially unhelpful mission and ministry images that might be at play.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t she leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until she finds it? And when she finds it, she joyfully sits down. Then she calls the friends and neighbors of the lost sheep together. And as this moment, as a new missional congregation is planted, the shepherd and existing congregation burst out ‘Rejoice; the lost sheep is found.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Second, a gender in ministry reflection emerging from the lost coin parable on Jesus as the good woman. Here’s an excerpt:

Luke 15:1-7 presents Jesus as like a good shepherd, searching for a lost sheep. Luke 15:8-10 presents Jesus as like a good woman, searching for a lost coin. The church has been very happy to tell me about the first, Jesus as good shepherd. But why has the church been strangely silent about the second, Jesus as a good woman? As Kenneth Bailey, Finding the Lost, notes, Jesus is remarkable for the way he affirms both women and men as “full and equal participants in the kingdom of God.” Surely this pairing has something to say about women in ministry.

Third, some potential worship stations.

Sheep station – with a metal fencing and gate, and the invitation to

Look: at the fence and the gates.

Act: by sitting inside the sheep pen.

Reflect: How would you feel if you were ninety-nine? Pray for us at Opawa, and for what your feelings mean for the future of the church.

Art station – an invitation to

Look: at the art image, Woman Sweeping, by Jean Vuillard; which portrays God as an ordinary house-keeper in everyday life.

Reflect: on the following poem
I was passionate,
filled with longing,
I searched
far and wide
But the day
that the Truthful One
found me,
I was at home.
by Lal Ded

Coin station: – with a whole lot of coins scattered around

Act: by holding a coin. On one side of the coin is a name of a child in our community. Pray that they will be found.

The other side of the coin is blank. It might be your name. What does it mean for you to know that God, like the woman, searching is for you? It might be someone you know. You might want to pray for them by writing their name (permanent marker supplied).

Whatever you do, take the coin with you into your week.

For more go here.

Finally, for those who need a bit of a light relief, here is the true story of what happened one Sunday in worship (ending with a reflection on leadership). Like all good Kiwi stories, it started with a sheep. (more…)

Posted by steve at 03:22 PM

Friday, August 06, 2010

your place or mine? hospitality as mission

I’ve been asked to offer some input to a gathering of church leaders in Tasmania in a few weeks (August 20-22). The title they’ve given me is this: Your place or mine: hospitality as mission. I said yes because I think it names a fascinating tension and one that has been nagging at me in recent days.

Back in April I was pondering mission in relation to the Zaccheus story in Luke 19. I was struck by how Jesus does mission at Zaccheus place, at his table, inside his home. Which, when I thought about it, was the dominant way the Gospel stories portray Jesus. He doesn’t give hospitality. He receives hospitality.

The exception is the Waiting Father/Prodigal Son in Luke 15, which has often used to frame mission and encourage the church to open it’s arms in embrace. Yet note the context in which the story is told – Jesus accepting hospitality, not giving it. Fascinating stuff.

I took this insight to my bookshelf and went through all my books on hospitality. Wonderful books on the banquet of God and the embrace of God at the Eucharist. But sure enough, almost all are about hospitality at our place. We are the host and they focus on how we give hospitality.

Which can so easily become occupied with mission as people coming to us, our turf, our churches, our terms, our worship, our welcome, our websites.

Which leaves a wonderful tension: How to integrate hospitality with the pattern of Jesus? What does hospitality in Western culture mean at their place, not mine! Any insights welcome as I begin my preparation.

Posted by steve at 09:31 AM

Monday, March 08, 2010

when the lectionary text is Luke 15

Luke 15, the parable of the prodigal son/waiting father, is the upcoming lectionary text. I know this not because I am a Baptist, but because of the increase in traffic to a sermon I preaching on Luke 15 back in 2004. It was a sort of lectio divina approach, drawing heavily on the world of the day. It is here for those interested.

Posted by steve at 03:45 PM