2018-19 RCL-C First Sunday in Lent
Additional Resources for Proclamation & Preaching
Lent 01: March 10, 2019 • Gospel Text: Luke 4:1-13
Preaching Mystagogically This Lent
Proclamation for Today
by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth
Take a mystagogical approach to preaching throughout the season of Lent. Craig Satterlee, in his Ambrose of Milan’s Method of Mystagogical Preaching (Liturgical Press, 2002), defines mystagogical preaching as “sustained reflection on the Church’s rites of initiation” (2). Even if Lent is about more than the rites of initiation (and it is), nevertheless many approach Lent hoping for preaching and teaching that gets “back to the basics,” and mystagogical preaching accomplishes this. “It is mystagogia, preaching on the ‘mysteries’ of the Christian faith. It is preaching in that it is scripturally based, takes place within a liturgical setting, is addressed exclusively to the Christian community—the baptized and the newly baptized, called ‘neophytes,’ and has as its goal the formation of Christians rather than providing religious information to Christians.”
In our era, and in our North American pseudo-Christian culture, it is not easy to demark who is fully formed as a Christian, and who still needs basic formation—nor is it needful to make such a distinction. All of us, daily, need sustained reflection on initiation (remember your baptism daily), so all gathered for worship, whether they are newly baptized, baptized decades ago, or inquiring concerning baptism—can benefit from preaching that forms more than it informs. Even better, preach formatively in a way that also informs.
Lent offers a splendid set of texts for just such an approach to preaching. It begins at Ash Wednesday with a solemn call to fasting and repentance, setting the stage for conceptualizing and living Lent as a journey to Easter. Make use of the 2 Corinthians connection back to Transfiguration of Our Lord. If transfiguration is looking in a mirror and seeing ourselves (in Christ) differently, the Lenten journey is a turn away from the mirror and towards the neighbor and world as “ambassadors for Christ,” through whom God is making God’s appeal (2 Cor. 5:20). In other words, even when we are not looking at a mirror, we are still called to remember in whose image we are made, and with what image we are marked—the cross.
Created in the image of God, restored through the renewed image of God (Christ), ambassadors participating in that image—that is the beginning of sustained reflection on the church’s rites of initiation. Then the gospel lessons for the season offer sustenance for the remaining journey.
Luke 4:1-13—Draw attention to the connection between this text and the threefold renunciation of the devil, the powers of this world, and the ways of sin, during the Profession of Faith in the liturgy for Holy Baptism. Texts for this Sunday are also very “Trinitarian” and easily tied to the baptismal “Apostles'” Creed.
Luke 13:31-35—Here Jesus speaks of his own crucifixion and resurrection, the dying and rising we participate in through our baptism into Christ. Connect the text to the portion of the catechism devoted to baptism.
Luke 13:1-9—Although a mystagogical sermon will distinguish between those who are baptized and those who are not yet baptized, it will also not turn the distinction into a hierarchy, the kind of practice warned against in this text. The focus is repentance, so consideration of confession and absolution is in order.
Luke 15:1-3, 11b.-32—This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them (15:3). Yes indeed, which is likely one reason some of your adults in the Catechumenate are considering joining themselves to his life in baptism. Here simple ties can be made to the portion of the catechism devoted to the Lord’s Supper.
John 12:1-8—Love God, and love your neighbor. Here, although those around him try to make it more complicated, Jesus sees love of God in his anointing, and encourages everyone to love the poor around them continually. This is the Christian life. Such annointing and love looks quite a lot like prayer, so consider meditation on connections to the Lord’s Prayer.
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by RCL Worship Resources or Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. Click here for more free RCL worship resources & planning materials.
Historical Exegetical Resources
Greek Interlinear Bible, ScrTR, ScrTR t, Strong, Parsing, CGTS, CGES id, AV.
The Five Gospels Parallels, John W. Marshall, University of Toronto.
From the Geneva Notes.
Commentary, Luke 4:1-13, Ruth Anne Reese, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2016.
"Beloved is Where We Begin," Jan Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook, 2016.
"My God in Whom I Trust," Alan Brehm, The Waking Dreamer, 2016.
"Trust and Temptation," David Lose, Dear Working Preacher, 2013.
"Through Wilderness Times: Someone to Come Home To," the Rev. Dr. Janet H. Hunt, Dancing with the Word, 2013.
A Good Read
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Revised Edition
Barry Schwartz October 13, 2009. Sold by Harper Collins.
“Whether we're buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions—both big and small—have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.
As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress.”
Free Current RCL Daily Devotional
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Dramatic Reading of the Text
Readers: Narrator, Devil, Jesus
Narrator: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him,
Devil: “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
Narrator: Jesus answered him,
Jesus: “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Narrator: Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him,
Devil: “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Narrator: Jesus answered him,
Jesus: “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
Narrator: Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him,
Devil: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Narrator: Jesus answered him,
Jesus: “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Narrator: When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.