Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 21 Sermon - Part One

Hello again, friends! I hope you all had a very happy Halloween/Reformation Day/All Saint's Day Eve.

I'm preaching next on November 21, the last Sunday of the church year (November 28 is the first Sunday in Advent!) - which is traditionally the festival of Christ the King or the Reign of Christ. Here are the appointed readings:
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm 46
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43

The gospel reading is taken from Luke's account of the death of Jesus:

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!"
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

My immediate reaction is that this text is a perfect opportunity to lift up a theology of the cross. That seems to be the only way we can reconcile a festival celebrating the dominion of Christ with a reading that mocks a dying man with the title "King of the Jews." I can't read this text without thinking of Moltmann's theology in The Crucified God. Hopefully, I can bring across some of that dense German theology in my sermon.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

There does seem to be an element of dramatic irony in this text/day. It reminds me of the "foolishness of God" idea more prominent in 1 Corinthians.

Have fun with Moltmann. I'm looking forward to your future posts on this.