Posts Tagged ‘lectionary’

Sermon Braindump Intro and Episode

For the past 10 weeks, I’ve been doing something new…something I haven’t posted here. Over the course of the summer season, I tried an experiment. I’ve been supplementing a weekly discussion of the assigned Lectionary Gospel text for the week that I hold during adult forums with a video. In the video I discuss the thought process that my weekly sermon preparation takes me through. Insights that I have garnered from the text and such. I include certain things that I’m thinking of including in the sermon itself…but it should be noted that this is not the sermon itself. Those I have been, and will of course continue, to post in audio and text form here in my blog.

But since this whole video thing has been going pretty well…and honestly I’ve found it really helpful for my own “sermonation” process…also known as my “percolation” period…I’ve decided that I’m going to continue doing it for the foreseeable future.

You can find all the videos on my YouTube channel.

There are a few other videos on there as well…quick little deals that I created in the past. Feel free to peruse them if you like, but no pressure.

This week I have posted episode number 10. This one is based on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-53. Like the rest of Matthew 13, its parables…but this time around, it’s multiple short ones (as opposed to individual long parables including explanations by Jesus featured the past two weeks).

In the video I explore just why Jesus choses to use parables…and just how “the kingdom of heaven” can be like so many different things all at the same time.

You can find the video here…I hope you enjoy Sermon Braindump Episode #10

 

My take on Paul’s take on the resurrection

Today’s lectionary reading is found in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

In this particular section of Paul’s writings, we see a brief discussion on how humanity joins with Jesus in the resurrection…at least in the end. Now, granted, there aren’t a lot of details here, but Paul does highlight what I consider to be important points about how this whole sin/humanity thing is connected.

And in a personal note, I find it personally uplifting today to read about the notion of personal resurrection following a lousy night’s sleep and an EARLY alarm to make it to town by 6:30 to join into the Men’s Bible study from my internship site. Good stuff, but a tired Scott.  Okay…personal note over.

As I read the opening verse of this particular passage, I’m left wondering just how Paul arrives at this statement. He’s talking to believers, so shouldn’t they know that Christ raised from the dead…oh and this is verse 20, just so we’re all on the same page. Though now as I think back to the class I took on Paul’s letter’s I remember that 1 Corinthians was written to dissuade the believers in Corinth away from some false teachers that have come through since Paul last visited. Perhaps some of them have presented the notion that there was no resurrection…that’s certainly a possibility and would make the presence of this verse make a little more sense in terms of context.

That being said, I find verse 21 to be key. Since death came through a human being…aka Adam and Eve in the garden… the resurrection of the dead also comes through a human being. Make no mistake, Paul fully buys into the humanity of Jesus. Verse 22, in which he names both Adam and Jesus is a key verse into the common (at least in theological circles) notion of calling Jesus “the second Adam.” This is an example of humanity going full circle. Sinfulness is a reality, but here we see that we join with Christ in his resurrection. This brings to mind a good point in what “eternity” might look like. We think of going to Heaven somewhere up in the clouds when we die, but here in this passage we see that we do, in fact, join in the resurrection. This is what we mean in the 3rd article of the Apostles Creed when we say “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” Not only do we profess that Christ rose again, but we also profess that through Him, we will rise as well.

Now that being said, this passage also raises yet another interesting debate. Verse 22. For as all die in Adam (due to the sinful nature…wages of sin is death and all that jazz), so all will be made alive in Christ. I just took a look at the Greek, which I am known to do from time to time for the purpose of clarification. The Greek does support the notion of “all.” Specifically the translation could read “all people live.”

Now, the debate in question refers to whether or not every single person is saved by Christ’s sacrifice. More specifically it raises the question of whether salvation is limited to professed believers or if, in fact, all of humanity is saved here. Though I didn’t read Rob Bell’s controversial book “Love Wins” it’s my understanding that this is the topic that he’s discussing in the book.

Now personally, I’m on the fence here. On one hand I think of the passage “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” To many, this passage indicates that Christ does a bit of sorting. Perhaps this idea is supported in the Creed when we hear “He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead.” On the other hand, I’m also reminded of the passage “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” By saying the world, I can see a definite sort of inclusive-ness…namely that Jesus was big enough for the whole world.

Now, to clarify my own gray area (if that is in fact possible), yes I think Jesus was big enough. His sacrifice was big enough to wipe out all sin of/for all time. But am I convinced that everyone goes to Heaven…well, I’m still hazy there. Still in the mental wrestling match on that one. All I will say is that I’m glad that the responsibility of being the final judge does not fall on me. God can keep that one because I know I’d mess it up.

All that being said, I’m going to come back around to the discussion of 1 Corinthians again. The last bit of good news that really jumps at me is in verse 26. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Death is an unknown that, admittedly, unnerves me. I’ve got questions about it. I’ve lost some people in my life and I wonder about their final fate…but I do take heart in knowing that Christ beats death…I don’t have to fear death, because whenever that day comes for me…I trust that Jesus has my back.

Today that’s enough.

The Stoning of Stephen

Today’s lectionary text is found in Acts 7:54-8:1a and is the stoning of Stephen.

I don’t know if its would be considered “proper” to call this particular story exciting as a whole. After all, it is about the violent killing of a person. The fact that Stephen is a believer in Christ is irrelevant to the violence that is done to him here, though admittedly, the fact that he is a believer in Christ, and a very vocal one at that, has led to the stoning itself. Now, all that being said, there are some exciting aspects of the story. Namely a few things that jump out at me as significant and worth taking a look at.

For one thing, history tells us that Stephen is the first Christian martyr. Now, in my head this could be debatable, but it’s like a question of semantics to do so. The Bible narrative does list Stephen as the first believer in Christ to be martyred, but I find myself wondering if its acceptable to consider Jesus himself a martyr. He certainly died for his beliefs after all. But again, maybe I’m jumping at shadows when I allow myself to go down that road.

What’s more important to recognize here is that Stephen, when he is martyred, actually seems to have a lot of really amazing things happening.  For instance, verses 55-56. Stephen looks into the heavens and sees Jesus. We hear of referencing giving us clues in various scripture texts about what Jesus’ return will look like, that he will appear in glory in the clouds. It seems to me that Stephen is getting a preview here. Being a movie-buff, I can only imagine how great that feeling would be. Perhaps you’ve had it, sitting in the theater and seeing a preview for a movie that you just know is going to be amazing. But I digress.

If we fast forward a few verses, namely to 59 and then 60, Stephen utters a couple of phrases that sound pretty familiar…dare I say, almost Christ-like. He first says, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He’s seen Jesus standing in Heaven. We hear Jesus say almost the same thing in Luke’s account of the Crucifixion (23:46).  Then Stephen says “Lord do not hold this sin against them.” Sounds an awful lot like Jesus again when he says “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

So we’ve got Stephen in a tough spot. He has spoken truth, and all too often we don’t want to hear the truth do we? Not when it’s spoken out against us. We want to keep that sinfulness, that error, that mistake…we want to keep it to ourselves. It’s terrible if someone comes out against us, speaking that which we try to keep hidden. We are enraged when someone else knows, and worse yet, they tell everyone present. Now everyone knows. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the people stoned Stephen. Where does he get such audacity?

Well, he get’s it through his faith in the man that he emulates at his death. His faith in Christ allows him to boldly speak truth, even if it means his death.

Something to think about isn’t it?