Sermon Notes for October 2, 2011

16th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 22, Year A)

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46


  • It would be my choice as a preacher today to focus on the Exodus passage and the Psalm.  I am not put off by the 10 commandments or the Law because I understand them in the context of the Psalmist– The law of the LORD is perfect and revives the soul…More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter far than honey,than honey in the comb.  The Law is not a burden to carry, but a joy to be extolled. This may be a good Sunday to recapture the perspective of Jesus who was steeped in the commandments, and had the deep understanding of the Torah as life giving and affirming.
  • This is also known in much of the Protestant world as World Communion Sunday.  Eucharistic churches celebrate nearly every week, so it is not even mentioned at St. Andrew’s where I worship.  Every Sunday is WCS there.  For those who don’t have the luxury, it might be a good time to focus on the Epistle and Gospel. There is the segue from the wine press to the communion chalice that can be made.  There is also the sense in both lessons that unity and reconciliation are key to the Gospel of Christ. More thoughts will follow on these themes.
  • Psalm 19 is full of power.  Many of these verses on their own are key for hymn writers and church musicians.  Some of the verses have become significant to our every Sunday liturgy. (ex: vv. 1, 4, 7, 14)
  • I will never forget a sermon I heard in the Divinity School chapel that highlighted Psalm 19:10.  The preacher got all snarky with us–“Yeah, right. You desire the commandments more than fine gold…you’d give up the commandments for a shot at being a Superintendent or a Bishop and the big bucks.”  We laughed, but it was a nervous laugh.  He spoke the truth that day.
  • Read Decalogue Discipleship by Brent Laytham.  Good background on the Exodus text.
  • There are some good notes at Saturday Night Theologian from 2005.  I especially like his last line as it refers to the parable in the Gospel: “As Clarence Jordan noted three decades ago, Christians make a serious mistake when they try to apply the parables of Jesus to other people without first trying to see themselves in them.”
  • Excellent discussion on the Gospel being midrash on the Isaiah 5 (this is the alternate OT text for the day).  Take a look at: Love’s Labor Lost from Raymond Brown



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