When a friend got a major scar, the doctors asked her what kind of plastic surgery she wanted. She laughed at the question, responding, “Are you serious? Do you really think I’m going to give up these bragging rights? I earned this scar!”
I've had a convert's fervor for liturgical worship ever since I stumbled upon an ELCA music position as a recent Wheaton College grad with a very low-church background. (When my much-younger sister advanced pretty far in the state spelling bee but didn't win, my dad told her to call me. "I lost on a word I've never heard of: 'liturgy,'" she said. "Dad said you'd know why that was funny.")
The Century's sort-by-lectionary-day tool
exists primarily as a way of organizing past Living by the Word columns
and Blogging toward Sunday posts in a useful way. But we also put other
content there--anything from the magazine or blogs that happens to deal
with a given lection in a way that could plausibly be useful to a
preacher or worship planner.
So, while our lectionary columnists
and bloggers mostly focus on Sundays, the lectionary pages have also
collected a good bit of content related to the additional holy days of
the (weekly) lectionary.
Alice Thompson lived with her parents in rural southern Illinois. Besides a house and a tool shed, the other building on their small acreage was a chicken coop where the egg-laying hens roosted. When young Alice found some matches, she took them into the chicken coop to see if she could figure out how to strike one.
On a Sunday morning in a certain city church, the Gospel lesson had been read and the minister was about to begin the sermon. Suddenly a stranger seated in the balcony stood up and interrupted the service. “I have a word from the Lord!” he shouted. Heads whipped around, and ushers bounded up the balcony stairs like gazelles.
One Saturday afternoon, my wife and I escaped to the movies. We had barely slipped into our seats and positioned the bucket of popcorn between us when a gaggle of teenagers jostled into the row behind us. They were having a great time together, noisily talking and teasing and laughing.
Maybe it’s just my imagination, but has the parable of the prodigal son become something of a bore lately? I know, I know, this is one of the most beautiful stories of grace in the Bible. And yes, I know this is a powerful archetype of human redemption.
In the little Georgia country church of my childhood, there was a story the older folks loved to tell again and again, laughing over it and savoring it and embellishing it. The tale involved a certain Sunday night in October 1938.