Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
Rich in Love
In the stories for the third Sunday of Lent – March 11 – we are invited to practice remembering. At the heart of the story from Exodus is the sentence: Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy (v.8). The story in John is a multi-layered remembering: Jesus crying out in the temple for the people to remember to “keep it holy”; the disciples remembering the prophet’s word about zeal, and later remembering all that Jesus had said about the temple of his body; the community of John remembering what all of this means to them, how it shapes and identifies them. What forms does the practice of remembering, especially remembering to keep it holy, take in your community?
Looking ahead to the fourth Sunday of Lent on March 18, our focus looks ahead as well. At Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide, South Australia, where I’m working now, the 9:30 a.m. worship planning group is going to be very presumptuous this coming Sunday. We’re going to presume to talk about God’s dreaming and God’s longing. Why so presumptuous? Because we reckon God’s dreaming and God’s longing live within us, are one with our own deepest dreamings and longings…are the origin, in fact, of our deepest dreamings and longings. When we share with the congregation this weekend around the very well known passage from John 3:14-21, “For God so loved the world….” we’re imagining a love that dreams well-being and flourishing for all creation and a love that longs for shalom: for a fruitful, just peace that generates harmony throughout the world.
Martin Seligman, the founder of the Positive Psychology movement, has recently been in Adelaide as a Thinker in Residence. As part of our exploration of God’s dream of well-being for all, we’ll be sharing key points from Seligman’s theory of what constitutes well-being and allows us to flourish (the name of his latest book is Flourish – here’s a review). In short, the elements are: Positive emotion, Engagement, positive Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment, or PERMA. (If you’re into community gardening like I am, you’ll immediately recognise the connection to permaculture, which is a flourishing movement, too.) What would it look like for our congregations to practice PERMA in everything we do? What a dream…