Real Zeal
2009-03-11 by Tom Steagald

Hey, David

Heard a really good sermon on this text today at our community Lenten service. The PCA pastor was talking about what he called real zeal... he said that, of course, there were three things to notice about Jesus' anger here. One, that Jesus saw what others did not (the larceny beneath the legitimate, the trade that had become the real business of the Tempe); two, that Jesus acted on that awareness but in a deliberate and measured way (making the whip took time; it was not a burst of anger but a calculated response; it does not give license to us to fly off the handle, etc); and three, thathis anger was on behalf of God, not personal picque. It was not Jesus who was offended to make him angry, but God whose commandments and provision had been coopted by human greed, etc.

It was a pretty traditional exposition, but I thought a fair treatment.

Tom 





How To Be Angry
2009-03-11 by David von Schlichten

Does the Temple-cleansing story present to us Christians an example from Jesus of how to express anger as a Christian, or is Jesus' behavior here not to be pardigmatic for us Christians when it comes to how to express anger?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





Good Insight, Tom!
2009-03-11 by Scott Seay

I think that Tom is right on point in his entry.  Very insightful.

Just yesterday, I preached a sermon in the chapel service at the seminary where I teach.  It was entitled, "Jesus' Temple Tantrum," and it reflected on this basic point.  I had not yet seen the connection that Tom mentions with the First Commandment.  I wish that I had!

That makes these texts especially relevant for Lent.  Part of what we are doing in this season is "re-setting" our lives of faith, getting rid of the clutter that keeps us from God.  This is the kind of exercise that prepares us to hear afresh the message of the cross.





Law and Temple
2009-03-10 by Tom Steagald

I am interested in the fact that the command to have no other Gods "before" me might be suggestive of the clutter we put in between ourselves and God. That is, the human tendency is to mask the divine, to carve it into stone, to turn to mediators, to fill the Temple with related stuff but in every case to shield ourselves from the terrible and wonderful intimacy that is crucial to true epiphanies or real experiences.

The people, in effect, put Moses before God: you go talk to him and tell us what he says. Willimon and others have suggested that preachers spend a good bit of their time and energy protecting their people from God.

The Temple is filled with idols and junk during the time of Hezekiah and Josiah...cluttering the space with things that apparently were meaningful or important or pleasant to the people (feel free to make your own joke here), but were between the people and God.

I think of the walls in Martha's kitchen... she is doing stuff for Jesus but that keeps her from being with Jesus. Those who give themselves to the business and busyness of the church are doing things for God, but many times these things are before God, in between us and God.

Interestingly, the critique of John 2 is addressed to the priests...the preachers. Those of us who are so busy about the stuff that we protect ourselves and our people for the terror and wonder of worship.

Nothing but Christ and him Crucified? Only in Paul's dreams!

 





The Law and Grace
2009-03-10 by Scott Seay

Lent 3B Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22

This week's lectionary texts, I think, strike a balance between the law and grace.

Of course, Exodus 20:1-17 is one of two statements of the Decalogue; the other is found in Deuteronomy 5:1-22. In both cases, the commandments are set in the context of God's liberating actions on behalf of Israel.  Precisely because Israel has been delivered from Egyptian slavery and preserved in the wilderness, they have an opportunity to live lives of worship consistent with God's commandments.  And as the Psalmist reminds us, the ordinances of the Lord are "desirable," and "sweeter than honey from the honeycomb" (19:10-11).  I think that this understanding flies in the face of so many cultural assumptions that we make about the law: it is not a burden to be carried, but a way of life to be celebrated.  Is it possible that, contrary to so many assumptions that we make, living by the law is a means of grace? 

I think that the preacher has to be very careful with both of the New Testament texts for Lent 3B.  In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Paul posits Jewish demands for a sign against the message of "Christ crucified." And in John 2:17, "the Jews" demand a sign from Jesus to legitimate his authority to criticize the Temple.  And the whole story of the "cleansing of the Temple" -- driving out even the animals! -- is part of the larger anti-Temple message in John's Gospel.  A message of anti-Judaism could easily show through in a sermon that does not deal responsibly with these texts.

Nonetheless, in both cases, the New Testament texts speak of God's abundant and inclusive grace.   Paul's overarching point seems to be that God has chosen precisely what and whom the world does not value to be recipients of God's message of salvation in Jesus Christ.  And the author of John places the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of Jesus ministry, suggesting that he will redefine the terms of purity and righteousness: it is not those who approach God through the medium of formal religion; but those who experience God directly (e.g. the Samaritan woman at the well; the woman forgiven of her adultery; and the lost sheep who are not yet a part of God's fold). 

How are these texts particularly appropriate for Lent?  Utilizing the Old Testament passages, one could develop the idea that the historic Lenten disciplines -- fasting, prayer, increased service to the poor, etc. -- are not "burdens" of the devotional life, but energizing opportunities for worship and expressions of love for God.  Utilizing the New Testament passages, one could emphasize God's penchant for revealing Godself in unexpected ways and to unexpected people.  This is a function of God's inclusive and abundant grace.  Part of Lenten discipline is to quiet ourselves enough to see and hear the work of God when in the normal course of our lives we might not.

Maybe this is enough to begin our conversation together...





[First Page] [Prev] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 [Next] [Last Page]

Login - (This login is for administrators and bloggers. Usernames and passwords for GoodPreacher subscribers will not work here.)