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Nov 01

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Judges 4:1-7

  • Deborah is such a fascinating person.  We are introduced to her with hardly any fanfare.  We are not told how it is that she (a woman) had come to be judging Israel.  We are not told about how she came to be named as a prophetess.  We are not told anything about her family – past or present – with one exception: Deborah is called the “wife of Lappidoth”.  Most commentators say that “Lappidoth” must be the name of her husband.  There are some, however, who suggest that maybe she is “married” to a particular trait that is described by the word “Lappidoth”, which means “lamps”.  Given what we learn of Deborah as we read her story, saying that she has a “fiery” personality certainly fits!
  • Deborah held court, so to speak, under a palm tree.  So, using palm branches in your worship display (or flanking the pulpit or chancel area) would be apropos.  Live palms are always an option, but you can find really nice artificial ones in most craft or home decorating stores these days.
  • If we take the position that Deborah’s relationship to “Lappidoth” is meant to indicate something about her personality or character, then why not decorate the worship space with lots of light?  Lights, lamps, candles, etc… What was the “light” that filled Deborah and made her into the leader she was?  Could that same light help and guide us?

Psalm 123

  • This text is perfect to use as a Prayer of Confession.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

  • With words like “keep awake” and “be sober”, I must admit that images of alarm clocks and coffee pots immediately popped into my head.  That, and Mountain Dew.  I blame my years serving as a Youth Leader who had to stay up all night at every Lock-In…
  • If you are preaching this passage, you might be drawn to the imagery of the breastplate and helmet found in verse 8.  Just like a breastplate and helmet protect a warrior and make them stronger, so it is with faith, love, hope, and salvation – those things help protect us and make us stronger every day.  Now is a great time to raid your kid’s costume box (or, go check out all of the post-Halloween sales at the costume stores).  These could be interesting props to use in a display on the Table.  Or, you could use them as props when you talk to the kids (and adults) during the Children’s Sermon.

Matthew 25:14-30

  • If you are right in the middle of your annual Stewardship Pledge Drive…the lectionary gods have smiled upon you and blessed you with one of the most popular stewardship texts in all of scripture.
  • For a really over-the-top display, pile boxes and bags of “money” all over the Table at the front of the worship space, with coins spilling out onto the table (I suggest plastic gold coins, unless you actually have a ton of the real stuff…and if you do, please consider sharing).  In front of the Table (on the floor), place a large box of dirt.  Half buried in the dirt, place a large glass jar with coins in it).  You can even prop up an old rusty shovel next to the box of dirt.  Do you see where I’m going with this?
  • If you really want to shake things up, take this parable out of the realm of money completely.  A “talent” was a huge sum of money – so, think of it as the biggest, most extravagant gift ever.  Have we received anything like that from God?  Unconditional Love?  Salvation?  Forgiveness?  Eternal Life?  What if we think of this text as a challenge to evangelize?  Really, evangelism is a kind of stewardship-of-the-good-news, right?

2 comments

  1. Evelyn

    Thanks for these creative ideas. I love the box of dirt with the glass and coins! I believe it’s really important that we understand the “talent” has nothing to do with our gifts and abilities, it has to do with money! In my clergy study group last week, one of the participants brought in a “talent” … weighs 75 lbs, has 4 handle-like things. Today this would probably be worth $1M. Obviously people did not lug these around in the wallets, but traded using a paper type system. I’ll be using this “talent”. Considering having 4 people bring it in during the sermon or just before. Or just have it there leaning against the communion table! Another comment was that the one talent servant saw the money as his master’s and not his own, which was why he was so scared to do anything with it. The rich do not “give” to charity, they “invest”. And I believe that is probably where I’m going this week is investing in the ministry we have. We’re in week 4 of our 5 week stewardship journey. I will also be showing a video clip “God’s Pie”.

    1. Amy Loving

      Wow! What a treat to be able to use an actual “talent” as a visual aid! I’d love to see a picture of it. Prayers and blessings to you as you continue in your stewardship journey, Evelyn!

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