Tuesday, July 27, 2010

August 15 Sermon - Part One

Whoa, starting a sermon for August 15?!? Crazy, right? I'm getting way ahead of the game.

August 15 is my first Sunday preaching here at King of Kings. My personal goal while I'm on internship is to have a sort of sermon garden going, so that I'm doing exegesis and text study well in advance of the weeks when I'm preaching. (We'll see how that works out - stay tuned.) So, now seems like a good time to start working on the lectionary texts for August 15.

Without further ado, here are the lectionary texts. (August 15 is also "Mother of our Lord" Sunday, but this congregation is not celebrating that festival, so I'm going to be using the standard nth Sunday after Pentecost texts.)

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:23-29

Psalm 82

Second Reading: Hebrews 11:29-12:2

Gospel: Luke 12:49-56

You can see all the readings here. I'm going to preach on the Gospel text, since it's one of those that you can't just ignore - it needs to be addressed. I'll reprint it below so you can see why:

Luke 12:49-56
12:49 "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!

12:50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!

12:51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

12:52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three;

12:53 they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

12:54 He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, 'It is going to rain'; and so it happens.

12:55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat'; and it happens.

12:56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

You know, Luke (if that is your real name), it's texts like these that make me wish it could be Year A again already. I can tell you right now that this is not going to be an easy sermon to write.

In all seriousness, though, it's a challenging text, and it's going to need some exposition. I can hear some clear apocalyptic notes coming through - the language of "interpreting the present time," not to mention the predictions of conflict and the image of bringing fire to the earth. I'm intrigued by verse 50, where Jesus mentions his upcoming baptism (I'm taking that as a reference to the crucifixion). I wonder how that anticipated event fits in to the apocalyptic notions here.

I'm going to do my own translation of the text and check out some commentaries this week, and start writing the sermon next week. As always, thoughts and comments are welcome!

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