Sunday, February 3, 2013

Introducing Heretic Sermons!

Heretic Sermons will be an ongoing series that needs a little explanation. It was a little over a year ago that I decided I was gonna dig in and take this whole Episcopalian thing seriously and see if it was for me. Something that I thought was important was to be studying scripture. (Maybe that's a vestige of my Mormon years.) I had a Book of Common Prayer (book containing texts and instructions for the standard rites and services of the Episcopal Church, and which I bear my testimony contains a lotta good stuff; p.s. get ready for lots of explanatory stuff for people who, like me, didn't know much about liturgical churches). In the back of the BCP, there's a schedule of readings for the Daily Office (meant to be done by individuals and families) and for the weekly Lectionary (specific passages read aloud in church as part of the liturgy of the Mass). Both the Daily Office and the service Lectionary always consist of four readings: one from the Hebrew Bible, one psalm (or portion of a psalm), one from the New Testament, and one from one of the four gospels. Now, if you're a monastic, you do readings for the Office eight times a day. If you're a schmucky lay person like me, then it's just twice a day. But you know what, I'm awfully busy being a student and a teaching assistant and a single mom. I don't have time to do four readings twice a day. So I decided I'd just read the psalms from the Daily Office, and I got a lot out of that, but I also wanted to familiarize myself more with other parts of the Bible.

In my quest to delve into parts of the Bible beyond the psalms but not do the complete Office readings every day, I thought, What if I just do the weekly Lectionary readings each week before church? So I did, and I found that I got more out of both hearing the readings again in church after having already read them for myself, and I got more out of the sermon that week. (The preacher is supposed to base his or her sermon on the Lectionary readings.) And then I thought, What if I were gonna write a sermon based on these readings? What would I say? What sort of meaning would I derive? So I started doing the readings earlier in the week, reading over them several times, changing the order in which I read the passages, jotting thoughts that came about connections I saw. That was a fun exercise, and it was always really interesting to see how different what I came up with was from whatever was preached on Sunday. And then I thought, What if I put these sermons on a blog? I actually the got idea from my priest who puts his sermons on a blog (except he's on vacation now, takes two weeks off a year, during which time, he produces no sermons, slacker!). Then I thought, What would I call this blog? And I came up with Heretic Behind the Pulpit. Now, I wasn't quite ready to come back to blogging yet, but I did like the name and the idea. I ultimately decided against Heretic Behind the Pulpit for a blog title, because (a) I thought I would probably want to blog about things besides sermons, and (b) I don't always feel like doing a sermon every week. But when I do, I'll post them here, and thus we will have Heretic Sermons, in which a complete amateur and everyday gal just like you takes a stab at finding meaning in some ancient Middle Eastern texts! Degree of fleshed-out-ness and coherence may vary.

I was gonna start tonight. I did jot ideas about the readings this week (and they were pretty good, too), but after writing the introduction, I've decided I'm tired. I did a long workout today and a lot of practicing. I still have some houseworky tasks to do tonight, and I have told myself that I will not become a slave to the blog, so I will skip the sermon this week. But now that the idea has been introduced, I won't have to do that next time, so stay tuned for future Heretic Sermons!

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