July 7, 2009

How do you preach this?

Generally speaking, I'm ok with the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). It rightfully picks up some things that were missing from our old lectionary in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). But there are occasions when I read the lessons for a Sunday, especially the Gospel lesson as that is where most preachers focus their attentions, and say to my self, "how do you preach this?"

I'm in such a position this week. Last Sunday the RCL folk combined several of the old BCP lessons giving us a hodgepodge of preachable texts, which left us this week with Mark 6.14-29, The Death of John the Baptist. I'm starting to believe that somebody in the RCL camp has a crush on ol' J.Bap because he shows up all the time. This week, in particular, I have no idea what to say. What teachable moment is there in the pericope for this Sunday. I hope my faithful reader(s) can help.

Do you go simple and say, "don't get drunk, let your step-daughter dance for you, and make promises you're going to regret"? I dunno, seems pretty obvious. Do you preach on ancient near east marriage customs, focusing on why Herod and Herodias' marriage is unlawful? What's the purpose of that? I just don't know what you preach on with this piece of narrative. It is, don't get me wrong, a powerful piece in the larger story of Mark's Gospel, but as a stand alone lesson for a Sunday morning, it leaves a little something to be desired.

So dear reader(s) what say you? What will you be preaching this week?

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