Hello Church! I hope that this finds you well and that you have had a wonderful summer! The Weekly Word has kind of been on vacation since June and I am stretching my “writing muscles” after a couple of months away from this weekly newsletter communication with all of you.
As I say almost every Sunday in worship, there are great things happening in the life of our church. We are looking forward to our fALL Welcome Back party on Sunday, September 10. The party isn’t all that will be happening that day, though.
On September 10, in worship, we will be shifting lectionaries. BPC has traditionally used the “Revised Common Lectionary,” a group of suggested scripture readings that were compiled by an ecumenical group over forty years ago. The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) offers a chance for churches to explore readings from the Old and New Testaments over the course of a three year cycle. Then, the readings begin again.
There is great wisdom in using the RCL, and I have used it for much of my preaching life, BUT it does have some drawbacks – one of them being that the readings can appear somewhat random and not have a common theme that holds them together. For example, one week, the scripture reading that “speaks” to me to use will be from the Book of Isaiah or Jeremiah and the next week, it might be from 2 Corinthians, which can make for a kind of scattershot approach to experiencing the Bible without getting the full picture.
For this reason, starting on September 10 at BPC, we will be switching to a different lectionary, the Narrative Lectionary, which is designed to cover the Bible in one big arc over the course of nine months or so. We’ll start in Genesis, with the story of creation, and end with the Book of Acts – going through major Old Testament stories, the arrival of the Baby Jesus, the calling of his disciples, Easter, and Pentecost. Hopefully, those who are following along all year will be able to get a general sense of the “flow” of the Bible and the overall story of God at work in the life of the world. An added benefit of following the Narrative Lectionary is that children’s Sunday School will also follow these important stories – so the scriptures we read in worship will also be covered by our excellent Sunday School teachers and students at the same time.
So, on September 10, we will be starting the Narrative Lectionary AND we will also be starting a series on Discipleship. The scripture readings from the Narrative Lectionary will be paired with scripture readings that highlight six marks of discipleship over the course of six weeks. This series is based on the book, Real Faith for Real Life by Michael W. Foss, and will cover 1) Daily Prayer, 2) Bible Reading, 3) Weekly Worship, 4) Christian Service, 5) Spiritual Relationships, and 6) Giving in the Spirit of Generosity.
There is more – much more – to look forward to this Fall: First Sunday Fellowships, Fourth Sunday Forums, the start of Children and Youth activities, a Presbyterian:101 class, opportunities for service, I could go on. . . Our aim is to meet people where they are and offer events of substance (and fun!) that engage the mind, heart, and soul.
We look forward to seeing you in church!
Grace and Peace,
Prepare for Worship
This Week: “Call the Midwives, 2023”
- Read Psalm 124
- Read Exodus 1:8-22
- Read Romans 12:1-8
- Read the following lyrics, which will have a role in the sermon this week:
“There is a Line of Women”
There is a line of women extending back to Eve
whose role in shaping hist’ry God only could conceive;
and though through endless ages their witness was repressed,
God valued and inspired them through whom the world was bless’d. So sing a song of Sarah—to laughter she gave birth;
and sing a song of Tamar who stood for women’s worth;
and sing a song of Hannah who bargained with her Lord;
and sing a song of Mary who bore and bred God’s Word.
There is a line of women who took on pow’rful men,
defying laws and scruples to let life live again;
and though, despite their triumph, their stories stayed untold, God kept their number growing, creative, strong, and bold.
So sing a song of Shiphrah with Puah close at hand:
engaged to kill male children, they foiled the king’s command; and sing a song of Rahab who sheltered spies and lied;
and sing a song of Esther preventing genocide.
There is a line of women who stood by Jesus’ side,
who housed him when he ministered and held him when he died; and though they claimed he’d risen, their news was deemed suspect, till Jesus stood among them, his womanly elect.
So sing a song of Anna who saw Christ’s infant face;
and sing a song of Martha who gave him food and space;
and sing of all the Marys who heeded his requests,
and now at heaven’s banquet are Jesus’ fondest guests.
Text: John L. Bell (Scotland), © 2002 WGRG, Iona Community (admin. GIA Publications, Inc.)