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 10

Public confession: I don’t get the sense that I have a congregation of folk waiting on these reflections which permits me to be irregular with them unlike if I were preaching every Sunday. If you are looking forward to them, let me know and I’ll do better. I’ll try to do better anyway but it’ll motivate me if I know someone really wants or needs these early enough to help with their preaching. 

Big Men

It’s hard to avoid the veneration, if not worship, of big men in most religious traditions. Prophets, messiahs, saviors, warrior kings — they all tend to be male. When women are represented among the holy and royal echelons, they are often portrayed as unique, a rarity, an unfortunate necessity, a Jezebel (and not in a good way – and there is much good to say about Jezebel) or, a broodmare giving birth to the really important person, meaning, man. Even the dominant portrait of God is as a big man in the sky.

This week’s readings start with the selection of David and all the promise of youth and the sweetness of young love. It bears asking if David became who he always was with power as the catalyst. Or was there something of this sweet earnest young man that could have been saved and preserved? The throughline about David in the readings also provides an opportunity to reflect on infatuation with monarchy, particularly in the United States. Samuel tells how God was reluctantly badgered into a human monarchy for Israel after Judges records an earlier three-year experiment with it. God’s first choice, ignoring Abimelech in Judges (suggesting the author of Samuel did not have access to that material) fails and Samuel, representing God, rejects his repentance – an important, concerning and often overlooked storyline. So David is made to shine against Saul’s ashes. If he was as adored in life as he was and continues to be in literature, is it no wonder David became who he became.  

Crowning Jesus with the legacy and lineage of David was supposed to be a good thing. Proof that he had the right some kind of way – overlooking that his genealogy goes through Joseph with some gaps before it gets around to Mary – to rule Israel in a literal sense with genealogical bona fides. As though that were ever God’s plan for Jesus. Rather than continuing to name Jesus as the son of David, A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church intentionally names Jesus as the son of Bathsheba, the Son of Woman, the son of his many mothers whose legacy and lineage he bears in a body that was broken as were many of theirs.  

Pentecost 9

In these lessons monarchy represents absolute power, whether it is the power of God over all or, the power of some man over a place and a people until someone, likely another man, takes his place. Literarily, Saul is a negative foil for David. That leaves him as doomed to fail and unforgiven when repentant. One must question if David’s legend required a tarnished Saul to distract from his own corruption. It is easy to read with and as David, as the favorite of God, no matter how we transgress as long as we say words of repentance. But that is not the most common human experience. Many of us feel like Saul, trying to live up to and into the expectations for us and falling and failing and fearing abandonment and rejection.

The psalm and the epistle reiterate that power belongs to God. Yet the gospel demonstrates that there are those, whether royal or not like Herod and Herodias (the mother), who hold and hoard the power they claim and to which they feel entitled. Reading between the lines, it is easy to see that power held or power sought often leads to the creation of a god in one’s own image. Thus I understand the call to the eradication of Amalek and other calls for genocide; that is not simply the God I know. 

To those grasping for power, those grappling to hold onto power, those ground down by the powerful, the epistle offers another word, a word of redemption and liberation: Jesus who loves us and freed us from our sins. The majesty of God is securely enthroned, held secure by the power of God’s love and, will never fall or pass to someone unworthy.