My next Sunday to preach is this one. I've selected the Matthew text from the Sermon on the Mount - Eye for Eye and Love Your Enemies.
This is tough stuff to deal with, especially in light of the ways our society tells us to respond to people. There's nothing but tension here.
For us, this Sunday comes immediately after a Fri-Sat marriage seminar that should be decently attended, so I think I'm going to tie this into the design for marriage, especially where it talks about loving those who love you. Marriage becomes a good example to speak of loving, whether there is love or hurt in return.
I'm just beginning to think this through, but I thought I'd get the thread started.
...just my $.02.
One of the things that I'm suggesting in my SotM series is that the nuances of Jesus' message come out when you intentionally shift your lenses to those of the various groups found in 1st Century Judaism.
In other words... what does the passage say to a Pharisee (or someone influenced by the Pharisees)? Or a Sadducee? Or someone who wonders if the Essenes have the answers?
This text, in particular, lends itself to speak to the Zealots... those who trust in chariots and horses... in military power... or even in the strength of government or earthly kingdom.
Good point, Jon. Thanks. I've been listening to Scott Daniels' sermons each week and he always does a good job of pointing these distinctions out when dealing with the gospel passages. It's something to think about, especially in setting a context.
I imagine many of our congregations have modern parallels to these groups. Scott did a good job of explaining those a couple of months back. I'll have to go revisit that sermon.
...just my $.02.Post Thanks / Like - 1 Thanks, 0 LaughingSusan Unger - "thanks" for this post
So... Scott... Jon... I publicly apologize for being so influenced by you guys!
Well, the sermon for the week literally came in a dream this week. Odd as it sounds. I've got a rough draft ready for this Sunday and I'll be working through it this week to internalize what I'm hoping to say. Have at it.
Our annual Community Retreat is this coming weekend and I'm not preaching, but if I were, I think part of what I'd feel led to say is that the reason we're not able to live up to this kind of "blessing in return" is that we have too much to lose. It's a lot easier to hand over my coat when it's pockets aren't full of possessions. Or, it's a lot easier to hand over my coat when I've already (as you say) "practiced" by letting go of so many other possessions in my life. I've been reading this blog quite a bit, and many of you have likely heard of "minimalism," but we've begun practicing the notion in small ways to begin - cleaning out our desk drawers of junk that we really need not, limiting our clothes, only shopping for food as needed, etc. It's like shedding burdens. And I believe that minimalizing the possessions in our life will truly help us when the big things come along (like a slap in the face, etc.).
I really appreciate you dealing with the tension of family and protection. People tend to jump to the extremes (pacifism vs. defense) rather than dealing with the every day practicing of the peace of Christ. I'm not sure what YouTube video you were using, but perhaps this is wrapped up well in it.
And I'm fairly sure that, if I were sitting listening with you in Pennsville next week, it would be the first time that I've heard the words, "Neener neener neener" in a sermon. Well done.
At the last GA, Dr. Warrick used an illustration about a cross in a Presbyterian church in Greenich, CT. I'd already heard the illustration multiple times, first from Bud Reedy years ago in an ENC Chapel. Dr. Warrick didn't credit anyone. As my Dad says, "If a GS can do it, anyone can!" Right?
(By the way, I used the illustration of that cross just a few weeks ago. I'd heard it enough from others that I decided to look it up. It took some searching, but I found the church with the cross and saw pictures of it on Facebook. This is indeed one situation where the words used in an illustration can make for much bigger visual head-images than the actual reality of the situation. If you've heard the illustration, this picture and this picture may be a disappointment to you.)