Pentecost 15 2017

Romans 14:1-12 I once heard a pastor describe another pastor’s sermon this way: “It was nothing but one darned illustration after another hung loosely on a clothesline of thin theology.” Well, this sermon has a lot of illustrations, but the clothesline upon which they are hung is today’s second reading from Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Let’s begin with one of the illustrations. A Rabbi and a Roman Catholic priest were sitting next to each other at an inter-faith event. When dinner was served someone thoughtlessly had placed a slab of ham on the rabbi’s plate. The rabbi did not protest but simply proceeded to eat other things as his faith and physician permitted. The Roman Catholic pries

Pentecost 14 2017

Romans 13:8-14 There were two reasons St. Paul had to be nervous about the behavior of his followers in Rome. If they were free from the law, they reasoned, then there was no longer any reason to follow civil law. Secondly, if the kingdom of God were at hand, then there was no particular reason to pay taxes, repay debt, or pay any attention at all to those in authority. I guess it was a case of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing. They were right about the first two things: Because of Christ Jesus they were, indeed, free from the law. And, yes, the kingdom of God WAS at hand. But it was their LOOGIC that was faulty – the THEREFORE part of their thinking. I suppose that it

Pentecost 13 2017

Romans 12:9-21 Sometimes satire is the best way to make a point. A couple of weeks ago in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence Tina Fey did just that in her “Sheet cake” monologue which will go down as one of Saturday Night Live’s best. She opened by saying, “I know a lot of us are feeling anxious and asking ourselves, ‘What can I do?’ I would urge people this Saturday instead of participating in screaming matches and potential violence, find a local business you support… maybe a Jewish bakery or an African-American bakery … order a cake with the American flag on it and … just eat it.” Then, as she went on to comment on such things as the irony of the United States government sho

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