Welcome to Wading in the Waters of the Word™ with A Women’s Lectionary

Gentle Readers, Followers, Preachers, Pray-ers, Thinkers and Visitors, Welcome!

Welcome to this space where you can share your worship – liturgy and preaching – preparations – using  A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church. We begin in Advent 2021 with Year W, a single, standalone Lectionary volume that includes readings from all four Gospels. (We will continue with Year A in Advent 2022 to align with the broader Church.) In advance of each week, I will start the conversation and set the space for you all. I will come through time to time, but this is your space. Welcome!

Media Resources

A Women’s Lectionary For The Whole Church

Session 1, October 16, 2021
Rev. Wil Gafney, PhD at Myers Park Baptist Church

Plenary 1 | Translating Women Back Into Scripture for A #WomensLectionary
This session introduces participants to frequently unexamined aspects of biblical translation in commonly available bibles and the intentional choices made in “A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church.”

A Women’s Lectionary For The Whole Church

Session 2, October 16, 2021
Rev. Wil Gafney, PhD at Myers Park Baptist Church

Plenary 2 | Reading Women in Scripture for Preaching, Study, and Devotion
This session provides an overview of “A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church,” its genesis, production, and content. There is also an in-depth exploration of specific passages appointed for specific days including time for public and private reading and discussion.

Lectionary Lectio

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Pentecost 22

These lessons move from the founding and foundations of monarchies to the foundations of worship and the founding of places of worship.

In the first lesson the machinations of monarchy are in the background and the focus is on constructing an edifice in which and with which to worship God. Solomon is a better candidate than David whose hands were bloody with murder, slaughter and rapine. Yet while it was the way of the world, the note about Solomon’s use of forced labor, virtual enslavement for designated periods of time, is an indication of excess. The objection is not so much that persons were deprived of their liberty but that Israelites were deprived of their liberty. This lesson offers an opportunity to reflect on who is labor and whose liberty we value and, where the labor and liberty of women falls in our valuation. 

The psalm extols Mount Zion, more specifically the Jerusalem temple, as the holy habitation of God, yet recognizes that God cannot be contained in temple or city walls. The way in which God “dwells” in the temple is the residency of their Name, too holy to be pronounced. The psalm proclaims that the divine Name extends to the ends of the earth in that way God is present everywhere. 

 And the author of the epistle envisions the constituent elements of humanity, peoples and their identities being demolished and reconstructed into the household of faith, the community that follows and believes in Jesus. In his exuberance he imagines the destruction of Jewish cultural elements like the Torah and its regulations. This is counter to the Jesus of the gospels who said he came not to abolish but to fulfill and, that the Pharisees were right and the Jews should do as they say (in matters of teaching and Torah). This is an important reminder that Christianity is built on the sure foundation of Jewish culture and heritage and it is our moral and ethical responsibility to be respectful in articulating the ways in which our theologies diverge. To call for the destruction of a people in religious and cultural terms is no less a genocide. 

The gospel reading offers a pair of temples. The Jerusalem temple and the im/mortal human body of Jesus, the temple of his flesh. Both were subject to disrespect. One he will defend the other he will relinquish. Both will be destroyed. One will be raised.  

Pentecost 21

The transitions of power in these readings are particularly well-timed, with elections in the United States and, an impending coronation in the United Kingdom, not to mention a shuffle of UK prime ministers. Yet an ever present danger in biblical interpretation is the temptation to map the ancient sacred stories onto the contemporary world and current events, even though that may be a comfortable and familiar approach to the scriptures. The transition of leaders only serves to underscore that empires and nations have a life independent of their leaders. They are entities of their own though they are led by and shaped by persons. Contemporary people have much more impact on the shape of their nations and government than do the characters in these texts. It is worth asking ourselves, how we use that opportunity as an act of stewardship and community care. 

The text says that David left Solomon a secure foundation for his rule yet the nation would not survive Solomon’s death and, was disintegrating before then. David also left Solomon a complicated legacy, a complicated family legacy, including a history of violence and objectification of women. (The latter Solomon found seductive.) It is easy to focus on the foibles of celebrities and leaders, but each of us has our own family legacy and predispositions. What do we do with the legacy left us by parents and family? How do we shape our life for ourselves apart from painful or unhelpful legacies? 

The remainder of the lessons addressed judgment, the judgment of kings and other earthly rulers, the judgment of God and a surprise guest appearance at the final judgment. The presence of the Queen of the South, the Queen of Sheba, bears witness to the sovereignty and justice of God that transcends national borders. All of those monarchs and would-be monarchs, politicians, presidents and would-be presidents, prime ministers and would-be prime ministers scrambling to hold onto power will be subject to judgment on their own judgments. As will as the rest of us.