The lectionary last week …
Wait! Did I start a blog post with the word lectionary?
How boring is that?
Actually, not at all.
For this entire summer, the summer of ’17, I’m working with Tommy Williams, the affable and able pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston, to offer a series of podcasts that follow the lectionary texts from Genesis. For about 20 minutes each week, we chew over (with surprisingly few belches, given how undigestible some of this stuff is) stories about family, friends, and fickle faith in the book of Genesis.
On the first week, for instance, we find ourselves in a bedouin tent. The Lord visits. Yep. The Lord. Or maybe not. Three men actually show up in Genesis 18.
Then it gets comic. Abraham runs around like a madman to show them hospitality. Meanwhile, they tell the old guy that Sarah will become pregnant. She laughs. Whether she’s laughing at, well, Abraham’s inability in the days before Viagra or her own shriveled body we’ll never know. But she laughs.
Don’t be too hard on Sarah. She gets a bad reputation for laughing in the face of God. A chapter earlier, Abraham had done the same thing.
What’s not to laugh about?
You’ll find yourself laughing, too, as you listen to Tommy and me, as we try to figure out this bizarre blitz of Bedouin bliss. You won’t see us scratching our heads (thank God it’s a podcast, not a video), but you will hear us putting our heads together, as we grapple with these profound, earthy stories, which purport to be about Israel’s ancestors but which are, really, about how we screw up and drag down our lives–but still, somehow discover hope and promise, too.
Each podcast is only about 20 minutes. I think you’ll stand to benefit from them. If you are a preacher, then you’ll find plenty here to help you with your sermons. If you’re a normal person (sorry, Tommy) like me, you’ll find a lot to navigate the unsettling world we inhabit. I’m even pretty sure those around you, even those chalk-on-the-blackboard family members who try your patience, may find that you’ve discovered a strain of promise in the stress and strain of life.
Yes, that’s it. This summer, the summer of ’17, may be the one where you discover hope in the muck of tortured relationships. To discover this sort of feet-on-the-ground hope, start right here, at the bottom of this page.