Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lectionary Discussion for Sunday July 17, 2008

Proper 15A/Ordinary 20A/Pentecost +14August 17, 2008

Genesis 45:1-15 “And now, the Rest of the Story” This is the other side of Joseph and his brothers. 45:5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Here is the reconciliation of a family with much weeping, hugging and kissing. There is a fine line here of Providence and Theodicy Joseph interprets his years of suffering and displacement as part of God's plan for the salvation of his family.
Notice also the process that takes place before the actual reconciliation. Today, medical researchers speak of the “forgiveness factor,” that is, the importance of forgiveness in overall emotional and physical well-being. Long-held grudges imprison us in the past, limit our freedom and creativity, and block God’s highest possibilities for our lives. Perhaps, over many years God was present inspiring Joseph anew each day to let go of the past, forgive his brothers, and embrace new possibilities for his life. Bruce Epperly

What does your congregation need to hear from this passage? The providence of God? The forgiveness? The Reconciliation? Maybe all of them.

Psalm 133 (UMH 850) verse 1 says; How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! The Psalmist then goes on to describe that unity in a most beautiful way.

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 God does not reject Paul goes on about the relationships of the people of Israel to God, stating that God does not reject them. He then compares their relationships with our relationship to God; that God neither rejects us but is merciful to all. I was uncomfortable with the words "God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all."

Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28 Going to the dogs In verse 11, Jesus says; "it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. Jesus was talking about the Pharisees religious practices, but even the disciples could not understand. This is followed by the story of the Canaanite woman seeking healing for her daughter. In it is the strange exchange between Jesus and the woman about feeding the dogs the children's food. But Jesus is moved by her faith, and heals the daughter. This passage might be hard to interpret to 21st century Christians unless you are Rabbi Rob Bell. I don't know about you but I don't like how Jesus treats the woman.

Who are the "Canaanites" in our society, those we would push aside or not welcome? -"Canaanite" signified "pagan" to the Jews of Jesus' time. The area of Tyre and Sidon, on the Mediterranean coast northwest of the Jewish region was where those called pagans traditionally lived. Who are treated like "Dogs" in our world? The term dogs (or in this case, literally "little/worthless dogs") was used by Jews to refer derogatorily to non-Jews. What are some of our rituals, traditions that we view as important but in the long run are not?

Where will you be heading this Sunday? What thoughts and ideas do you have for this Sunday?


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