Thursday, September 2, 2010

A preaching challenge...

It's hard to ignore this when it's your Sunday Gospel text:

Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:25-27)

I think, however, I just might do that. The Epistle is Paul's letter to Philemon. This is a rather unique letter. Most of Paul's letters are replies to the early Christian communities. Most people (including myself) forget that Paul is responding to other peoples' concerns, and delicately working in things that he thinks is important. So you get these letters that sometimes are maddening in their apparent focus on things that mean little to us today.

The letter to Philemon, in my opinion, brings out the best of Paul because we see what is really important to him: the relationship that Christians are supposed to have with each other.

As one who often cringes at our lectionary's excerpts of Paul, I don't want to miss this opportunity to transform the way we usually think of Paul.

So, can I ignore this Gospel??? Any thoughts???


LKT said...

I mean, sure, you can, and it sounds like you've got something to go on. BUT I also find for myself that it's the parts of the readings that make me cringe where I get the most juice, if that makes sense. The very fact that you react so strongly to that passage makes me wonder if you ought to at least opine a little, see what comes up. But, boy, I hear you. I was just looking at the readings myself. That's a tough one. Where was Jesus' PR person???

Kurt said...

My sermon from the other day, "Division", touched on this as well, so it's not like I always avoid Jesus' rough texts. Still, it's hard to let it slide by without comment on a Sunday!