Narrative Lectionary Hebrews Week 1
Additional Resources for Study & Proclamation
Hebrews 1:1-4 (John 1:1-5)
Welcome to Hebrews!
Furthering the Power of God’s Story – Narrative Lectionary Commentary
by Pastor Ron Valadez
If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance that you haven’t had an opportunity to preach on this letter. Now you get five weeks of it! It may seem a little daunting at first but I hope you have fun with it. If I had to give a title to the overarching theme that I’ll be working from over our five weeks it might be, The Amazingness of Jesus! Or maybe, How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways. The author really is in love with Jesus! The whole letter is basically a counting of all the ways that Jesus is just the best thing since sliced bread. The author does not want you to walk away from this love letter without knowing how and why Jesus is so darn amazing. And hopefully your listeners won’t either.
Each Sunday we will get the opportunity to answer the question, “How is Jesus so amazing?” And each Sunday will give us a different aspect of Jesus to answer that question with. Here’s a bird’s eye view of each Sunday: 1) Jesus’ eternal nature, 2) Jesus’ humanity, 3) Jesus’ accessibility, 4) Jesus as key, 5) Jesus’ faithfulness.
For this Sunday, the first thing that our author wants us to know about is that Christ has always been. For our author, it’s not just that Christ has always been on God’s mind or in her plan. No, Christ has always been. Period. The rest of the letter will make better sense if we keep that in mind. And who else can make such a claim? Nobody! Not even the angels! And so, this gives Christ an authority and superiority that our author really wants to drive home.
A quick word of caution: This letter has been used by many over the centuries in anti-Semitic ways. A surface reading of it could be seen that way. But we will do better than a surface reading, won’t we! Our listeners, our world, and our Jewish siblings deserve better.
So, what does Jesus the Eternal mean for our sermons? Many of us are lucky enough to have long-term friends. Those friends who have just always been there for you, that have stuck with you through thick and thin, even when you’ve been difficult to be around. Jesus is like that, like the ultimate friend who’s always there for you. There’s something to be said for longevity in any relationship, isn’t there? It comes with challenges to be sure. How do you stay friends when you just want to strangle each other, right? But at the end of the day, we can look back on our lives and confidently say that Jesus has been there with us, since day one, and always will be. Who else can we say that about? No one.
Some application questions: What have long-term friendships/relationships meant for your parishioners? What have been the benefits of such relationships? What can that tell us about how we approach each other and the world?
Quick Jump Menu
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. For more free worship resources & planning materials, please visit RCL Worship Resources, a sister-site of Clergy Stuff.
In addition to the plethora of resources that you can find on sites like textweek.com, here are a few more to help ignite your imagination. Some old, some new, and some are a bit outside the box, but when your struggling with direction, sometimes a different approach is all that’s needed.
Knowing and preaching the Jewish Jesus—A great primer on the delicate nature of proclaiming Jesus while honoring our Jewish siblings.
A Letter Without a Home: Introduction to Hebrews—A birds-eye view of Hebrews.
Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships—A TEDx talk that explores what makes a healthy friendship.
A Good Read
The Jewish Annotated New Testament
by Amy-Jill Levine
An extraordinary look at the New Testament through both ancient and modern Jewish eyes.
Free Dramatic Reading For This Text (NRSV)
Readers: Reader, Congregation
Reader: Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,
Congregation: but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.
Reader: He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.
Congregation: When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.