Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Labor Day and Exegesis

Having settled in at the church in Lincoln, I have been assigned to preach for the first time on September 4-5, right before Labor Day. The church will be wrapping up its summer series on the prophets with Malachi 4:1-6 substituted for the first reading in the Lectionary. The gospel text, Psalm and second reading all follow the Revised Common Lectionary.

Malachi 4:1 See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all
the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn
them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor
branch. 2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise,
with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of
your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. 4 Remember the
teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him
at Horeb for all Israel. 5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before
the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of
parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I
will not come and strike the land with a curse.

Luke 14:25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

At first glance, it's easy to see these are not necessarily going to be 'comfortable' texts to work with. However, there is a lot in there about how what we do actually does matter. Ties might be able to be made with the renunciation of cheap grace as well as the celebration of Labor Day. I will be interested to see what the commentaries say, especially about what is required of those who follow God.

1 comment:

  1. I'm preaching on that Sunday, too! I think I'm going to use the gospel text for a stewardship focus. I'm excited to hear what you come up with!