Category: Joseph C. Parker Jr.

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 5th, 2017.

The first Sunday in the Lenten season focuses our attention on Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7.  Those who observe this season engage in fasting, moderation, self-denial and repenting have a heightened connection with, dedication and sensitivity to the Lord God. It is also a season when one is more susceptible to temptation; one must, therefore, exercise discipline. These are major emphases of this text.

As the preacher studies and meditates on this pericope, he cannot avoid seeing themes of God giving an assignment, setting boundaries, giving freedom of choice, expecting obedience, and imposing consequences. The text also indicates that we are to have a heightened connection with and sensitivity to the Lord God, whether or not we are observing the Lenten season.

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Exodus 24:12-18

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on February 26th, 2017.

When I read Exodus 24:12-18, the lectionary text for Transfiguration Sunday, it seems that the Lord’s words in verse 12 to Moses – Come up to Me on the mountain – should be primary to the preacher’s consideration when preaching on this pericope. It speaks of Moses being called before and encountering the manifestation and transcendent presence of the Lord God. It speaks of being drawn to God at his request, and it is a holy experience because God is present.

The words of this text also apply to all of God’s people in every generation. That upward trajectory appeal – God’s calling of his people upward to himself – is the life story of God’s people and the continual refrain God speaks into the lives of his people. Perhaps this appeal is a recurring theme of this pericope, as we read and hear it today, particularly through the eyes and ears of the preacher.

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Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on February 19th, 2017.

If a preacher were to say to a congregation, “Please turn to Leviticus,” I wonder if the congregation would say something like, “Who is Leviticus?”  Or might they think, “Did he say, Spartacus?”

Hearing the word “Leviticus” in today’s church might be as foreign as hearing the name of “Spartacus,” the Thracian gladiator, in the church. Indeed, some preachers might feel one must be a gladiator to prepare a sermon from Leviticus.

The preacher might want to start her sermon on Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 by dealing with the book of Leviticus and its regular neglect by many preachers.  She may want to address the thought of some that this biblical book is not relevant today and perhaps not easily understood and even boring. One might have the view that today’s world has nothing to do with sacrificial rituals and regulations as emphasized by Leviticus. By contrast, there may be those who see the person and work of Christ in the book as they interpret it through allegory. Notably, the preacher must be resolved on her view of the book before preaching the text.

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