Revised Common Lectionary preachers, have you seen the texts for this coming Sunday? Ouch. Beautiful, provocative, but ouch. Seasons of war and oppression, scorned and weary souls, a punishing God with no patience for hypocrisy, our mortality laid bare before the magnitude of God, and fear — ever the awe-full fear — of the One who sits with the legitimate authority to judge us.
How do you preach good news from texts that seem so dire? How do you preach good news from a parable that seems so unfair? How do you speak to good news in the context of bad news?
The preaching challenge this week serves as a stark reminder that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unconventional … unexpected … completely overturned … in fact, utterly upside down.
(My brain reserves some of its cells solely for the purpose of remembering kids’ songs, so as soon as I typed “upside down,” Ernie was singing in my head! #earworm)
How do you answer these theological puzzles — within yourself, within your sermon? It’d be easy, I imagine, and not necessarily incorrect, to take a moralistic approach to the lectionary texts this week: “Keep your nose clean, follow every letter of God’s law, for no one knows when Jesus is coming to wag his finger at you.”
Myself, I hear the good news of letting God be God and letting ourselves be human — weary, limited, overwhelmed and scared, unable to save ourselves with gold or silver or time or righteous living — only able, at the end of it all, to lean into God and pray, “Have mercy.”
Friends, how are you approaching the texts this week? Drop a comment here, join the conversation on our RevGals’ Facebook group, offer one another some encouragement along the path toward Sunday’s sermon!