As posted by yours truly at RevGalBlogPals:
Twenty years ago, I was on a Pastoral Search Committee, and one of the questions we asked the ten candidates we interviewed in the first round was to tell us their three favorite passages of scripture. I loved hearing the variety of verses quoted and even learned some that I didn’t know, such as the last line of one of this week’s lectionary passages:
1) Matthew 6:25-34, mostly because of the lilies of the field, and “The Lilies of the Field,” that movie about Sidney Poitier and the nuns, which I watched with my mother and her mother when I was young. I remember being very excited to find the verses in my New Testament. And that message about anxiety has been an important one in my life, one I am still trying to learn. Sadly, it always seems to come up in the lectionary when I won’t get to preach it (#1 Son’s graduation last time, BE 4.0 this time).
2) Philippians 3:4(ish)-14, which came onto my radar because of the little stick man running in the same grandmother’s copy of “Good News for Modern Man.” Growing up around people with an interest in history, both local and family, I love the contrarian message, that all that matters not at all as compared to Jesus. What a challenge to churches! And to me.
3) Mark 14:3-9, the Anointing Woman, a passage I got to know intimately while writing an exegesis paper, and the story (in all its versions) about which I sometimes fantasize writing a thesis. But this story, all by itself, touches me because this nameless woman walks right in and does her thing, with no hesitation, because she feels called to it. Such witness. Furthermore, I adore Mark, the compact artfulness and the retreats to pray and the nap in the back of the boat and the guys who open the roof to get their friend to Jesus and the argument with the Syro-Phoenecian woman, and the list goes on…
4) Psalm 46, for the Glad River, which for some reason touches me. Children, don’t forget to read this one at my funeral, okay? It’s not the only place where God is described as our refuge and strength, or something like that, but it’s the way I like it the best.
5) Isaiah 6:1-6, a passage important to my discernment, early on, and also a challenging call to be prophetic, plus it’s awesome set to music.
Runner-up: Ruth. What a great, rich story! There’s friendship and sex and love and mercy and justice. I love it. Please don’t make me study it hard enough to ruin that in any way.