PENNSYLVANIA SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE
OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Olivet-Schwenkfelder
United Church of Christ

619 Township Line Road, East Norriton, PA  19403
"An Open and Affirming Community of Faith"
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Pastor's Page


You may have noticed that throughout our church’s liturgical year, certain scripturereadings and sermon themes arise. This is because OSUCC, like many churches within Protestant denominations, uses the Revised Common Lectionary. The lectionary consists of prescribed readings for each Sunday in a three – year cycle. The purpose of the lectionary is to ensure that every three years Christians hear the gospel according to Mark, Matthew, and Luke, and that the scripture lessons are applicable to the liturgical season (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter). The Revised Common Lectionary coordinates and organizes worship so that on any given Sunday in any given church, it is likely arishioners are hearing sermons inspired by the same scripture lessons. The lectionary gives structure to the Christian year, and encourages unity across Christian denominations. The only real disadvantage to the Revised Common Lectionary is that, due to the large number of scriptures in the Bible, some material is inevitably excluded.

Once again this summer I am going to preach “off lectionary” throughout the months of July and August. Last year’s sermons about little-known Biblical women continued to intrigue and inspire folks. As such, the Adult Sunday School class chose the books of Esther and Ruth for this year’s summer sermon series. Both Biblical books are complete stories that are rarely done justice in just one Sunday morning sermon.

The book of Esther is set during the Persian rule over the Jews, but was likely written much later during the Hellenistic Period (perhaps around 200 – 150 BCE). The book tells the tale of Esther, a Jewish girl born under Persian rule, who becomes queen of Persia and thwarts a genocide of her people. Throughout the month of July we will use the lens of Esther to examine topics of violence against women, justice versus vengeance, and God’s deliverance. The book of Ruth is set in the time of the Old Testament judges, but was likely written well after the Babylonian exile (perhaps fifth century BCE). It tells the story of Ruth, a gentile woman who – after the death of her Jewish husband – chooses to be family with her mother-in-law, and worship the God of Israel. It is a story about trials, loss, loyalty, and redemption. Throughout the month of August we will focus on Ruth and examine such themes as faithfulness, the plight of foreigners in a strange land, and the meaning of family.

Each week we will delve into these stories, their characters, and the important lessons they can teach us today. Join me as we go on a two –month journey with these Biblical books, and the Biblical heroines they are named for!

Blessings,
Pastor Leslie


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