Friday, July 24, 2009

Preaching for July 26th, 2009

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Psalm 14
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

I preach on the Gospel of John with higher levels of trepidation than other texts. I remember the challenge of the Greek when I used that tool with any regularity. I also find this account presents some of the most challenging interpretive questions. This particular section in the Revised Common Lectionary also hits 5 straight weeks of John 6 and themes related to bread. I have come across several (poor) preacher jokes about how they avoid these texts through the use of vacation and other lectionary texts.

I'm leaning toward preaching on the Ephesians text because I resonate with the offering of encouragement to the people of God, whom in my experience are often feeling either insufficient as a child of God, discouraged, isolated, or a combination thereof. After reading Arland Hultrgren's piece from, I'm focusing on the riches of faith--which is the relationships and faith stories of others in the community of faith.

Some in the coming weeks will argue that the riches of faith come only from the articulation sound and pure doctrine. This doctrinal argument will inevitably arise when ELCA Lutherans from all over the country will get together in Minneapolis in less than a month to passionately debate the role of LGBT people in the live of the Church (though it won't be the only topic, this topic will receive the most coverage). Some will say that these faith stories are irrelevant or minimized because they do not come from a foundation of sound doctrine. I may read about these debates because sometimes I like to watch a good train wreck. I believe the ELCA may experience a significant split after the August gathering. At the very least there will be hemming and hawing. Whatever the ELCA discerns what to do with itself, I will continue to harvest the riches of faith stories in Christ from God's people, for it is texts like this in Ephesians that call me to what I am supposed to do. If a church isn't willing to have me as a preacher of the Gospel because of a certain trajectory of belief I hold, so be it.

These reflections may not all find their way into my sermon on Sunday--I have to have an intentional economy of words. The heat will preclude me from a long period of attention from the congregation on Sunday--and they do not have air conditioning. Ugh.

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