Sermon Notes for July 17, 2011

The scriptures for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11) are:

Genesis 28:10-19a
Psalm 139: 1-11, 22-23
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

(To the right is a resource that can be found at the Vanderbilt Divinity School resource for this week)

Early thoughts on these texts-

  • I love the lectionary during the summer months because it usually has lots of opportunities to tell the old stories of the faith.  If we spent our childhood in Sunday School, we know many of the stories that show up in the lectionary, but we rarely unpacked them.  The preacher who chooses to preach the OT texts gets an opportunity to offer something fresh, and maybe refreshing on these texts.
  • Dreams are good things for God’s people.  Sometimes they reveal great truth that we would never get if we were awake.  Have you ever been awakened by a vivid dream that made you jump to attention?  That was the experience of Jacob.  His dream was quite detailed–
    28:13 And the LORD stood beside him and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring;
    28:14 and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring.
    28:15 Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
    28:16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place–and I did not know it!”
  •  That dream  remains for God’s people over the centuries and we can count on God’s promises–God’s people will be numerous, and God will be there with us and will not leave us until those promises are kept.
  • The summer is usually parable season as well.  Jesus tells stories that have stayed with the Church for millennia.  As often as we tell them, they never run out of meaning and there always seems to be something contemporary about them
  • This is one of the few parables that Jesus explains to the disciples.  You almost wish he didn’t, because some of his other parables are much richer without an explanation.  They offer the hearer a chance to chew on the meaning of it.
  • Even though the parable delves into the negative, the enemy, it has a surprising message:  “Let the weeds grow.”  “You’ll rip up the good stuff if you start ripping out the weeds before the harvest.”  Jesus makes no bones about it, the hearers of this parable are the good wheat, and they are supposed to “shine like the sun.”
  • The typical ending will preach in any century, and calls us all to hear, not only with our aural faculties, but with the ears of our heart–“Let anyone with ears listen!”
  • I like which offers some great resources for thinking creatively about the texts for the week.  A classic movie/book is referenced for the week under “Confrontation with Evil”–

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)—Atticus’ conversation with his children after the trial about WHY you confront evil evenif you can’t win!

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