Sunday, September 12, 2021

Phil Kniss: Narrative Lectionary introductory meditation

Listen! God is Calling!
Fall 2021 Narrative Lectionary

Genesis 1:1—2:4a

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Today we begin another year of following the grand, sweeping 
narrative of scripture.
The Narrative Lectionary has an elegant design.
Every fall, for 3 ½ months, stretching into Advent,
we explore primarily the Old Testament,
beginning with the Creation story, and on through the prophets.
It’s known as the Hebrew Bible,
the story of God, told through the eyes of the people of Israel.
In each year of the cycle we cover the same span of time,
but we pick up on entirely different stories.
So after we finish the four year cycle,
we will have covered most of the major stories
in the Old Testament.
Same narrative arc every year,
but different stories to hear and think about.

This year, as I see it, the stories seem to highlight the Voice of God.
Beginning with this great Creation story,
God’s voice speaks the world into being, speaks us into being.
“Light and dark, be! . . . Land and sea, be! . . . 
Fish, swim! . . . Birds, fly! . . . 
Human beings made in our image . . . Be!”
And as the story keeps unfolding, God keeps using God’s voice
to try to get through to us, who are often hard of hearing.

I titled this series of worship services, “Listen! God is calling!”
It will be a listening exercise for all of us,
as we listen not only to the words spoken 
to the biblical characters long ago,
but we’ll listen for God’s voice speaking to us today,
through these stories—
spoken with a different accent, you might say,
a word that lives in our context.

Then, after Advent,
we will dive deep into another one of the Gospels.
Last year it was Luke. This year it is John.

And very fittingly, the Gospel of John will begin
with words that echo today’s story from Genesis.
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
And that Word is light and life for all.”

Do you hear the Creation story coming through?
Well, we’ll get to John later,
and see how the Word, how God’s Voice,
gets embodied in the life of Jesus.

Then after Easter, we finish out the year 
with texts from the Book of Acts and the Epistles.

I just wanted to take this opportunity
to put today’s worship service 
into our larger context of worship this fall,
as we follow the Narrative Lectionary again.

And isn’t it a great way to begin a series focused on the Voice of God,
by celebrating our new hymnal, titled none other than,
Voices Together.
I believe this hymnal title speaks not only to 
the joining of human voices together into a human community.
I believe it goes deeper . . . 
that when we join our voices together in worship,
our voice joins with the voice of God.
Singing is divine-human conversation,
God’s and our voices . . . together.

So begins our year together where we
“Listen! Because God is Calling!”
Thanks be to God.

—Phil Kniss, September 12, 2021

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