Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preaching this week...

I'm preaching this week, and I've only had a limited time to think about that so far this week. I've chosen this complicated text- Romans 12:9-21, one of lectionary offerings this week:

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is heavy stuff. Do you see it as a pep-talk? Is Paul trying to cheer-lead the early Roman Christians? Or is that a little too trite for these important words. I love words, and these words are lovely- but how do we go beyond the words- to living the concepts in the world. These are the questions I will continue to wrestle with for the next few days before the Holy Spirit and I do our thing in the creative writing process.


Anonymous said...

I do see that passage as a kind of pep-talk. God is telling us that we need not be worried about getting revenge when we have been wronged by someone. Leave it to Him and He will take care of it.

All we have to do is love.

Guido said...

I have a friend who goes three mornings out of the week to the co. jail. He meets the guys who are released at 4:00 AM with a pack of Marlboro's, Egg McMuffins, and a cup of coffee. He welcomes them out of the darkness into the light. He meets them where they are at. Somebody complained to him why do you bring cigarettes...he responded, "That is what they want." He meets them not to get them right but to invite them on a journey. I think that is what it means. "Bless those who persecute, love the lowly, and not repaying evil with evil." He is the first one who gets to listen them, not thier homies or the system that of gang bangers and cops who put them there. But the light of God.
He says a final blessing to them as he leaves, "I hope not to see you walk out those doors again. Go in peace."

Fearless Joy,