Is it time to start pulling our hair out yet, preachers?
Are you preaching from the Revised Common Lectionary this coming Sunday? If so, are you riveted again by Luke’s story of Jesus and the man possessed by so many spirits that they name themselves “Legion”? I can’t hear the story without thinking about a seminary skit where people take Jesus to small claims court. In the skit, the owner of these pigs joins the owner of the fig tree and the owner of the Palm Sunday donkey in protesting that Jesus was cavalier with their possessions. Jesus matches the unruly spirits with the watery chaos, and the man’s new health reveals the town’s ill health.
The story has so much to preach about…the man so dead to himself and life that he lives in the tombs, amid death and decay…plus the moral decay of the town that is unwilling to rejoice in his healing. I love that Jesus leaves him there to “proclaim” the good news to them. His very presence will be a constant reminder of their callousness.
Is Paul’s timeless word from Galatians 3 calling to you this week? Each of the groups Paul mentions in this passage has an up-and-down hierarchy, and Paul is bold enough to announce that these imbalances of power are now erased in Jesus. He speaks with such certainty, and yet the church of Jesus, in all these years, has never managed to fulfill his vision. How might we reach this kind of equality, without erasing the differences that make us who we are?
If you follow the Narrative Lectionary, are you working with the Psalms? Doing something else?
And who has a great summer sermon series going? Last summer I did a series on “Things Grown Folks Know,” which was fun to think about. If we’ve been paying attention, what have we learned along the way? We’d love to hear your great ideas for a series, too.
Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a diverse Presbyterian Church. She is the author of Meeting God at the Mall. The image above is Master of the Furies. Tormented Figure, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55481
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