Many of the people who raided the United States capitol building last Wednesday were wearing “Jesus” t-shirts and waving Christian flags. And it is pretty obvious those people have listened to a lot of unfaithful preaching and read very little of the actual Bible. We’re in the season of Epiphany now which is when the church most directly addresses our call to lay aside whatever privilege we think we deserve and recognize—rejoice in—the reality that the Good News of Jesus Christ is for everyone.
Even though the Narrative Lectionary does not follow the church year in quite the same way as the Revised Common Lectionary, we do encounter many passages this time of year that speak directly to God’s uncomfortably inclusive love. Simeon proclaimed that the child Jesus would be a “revelation to the Gentiles,” and John told those thinking they had privilege that God could raise up children of Abraham from the stones.
In this week’s reading, Jesus’ sermon is going really well until Jesus reminds the congregation that Elijah was sent to a widow in Zarephath, not Israel, and he healed a Syrian rather than an Israelite. Turns out most people are in favor of good news to the poor and release to the captives and recovery of sight for the blind—as long as it is for their poor and their captives and their blind.
I pray your preaching this week might continue in the prophetic (and dangerous) tradition of John and Jesus, proclaiming God’s all-inclusive love and God’s unyielding justice.
Working Preacher Narrative Lectionary podcast
Faith Formation resources from Spirit and Truth publishing
Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS and blogs at Spacious Faith.
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2 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary: When the Bible Gets You in Trouble (Luke 4:14-30)”
Yes, I went on a rant Sunday in my sermon about the Jesus flags. “Down, blood pressure, down!” And the images and words of people who give Christianity a bad name.