Tagged: fire

Luke 12:49-56

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on August 14, 2016.

02We live in an era in which we get a daily dose of hard news born in hatred, division and violence. Churches and religious leaders search for words, and communities long for action. Do we have a gospel big enough for this moment?

It is easy to preach the pleasant Jesus – Jesus who heals, loves, comforts, feeds and restores. The problem is that the gospel story is more than one of a pasteurized and homogenized pleasant Jesus. Some of Jesus’ words disquiet us. The temptation is to walk away from the difficult words. But, if one desires to proclaim an authentic picture of Jesus, then one must be prepared to hold in tension the good and encouraging words with the difficult ones.

This lectionary passage draws us into words of fire, stress and divided families – of shattered peace and brewing storms. These are difficult and unsettling words from Jesus. In Luke’s gospel account, one feels a growing intensity from the moment Jesus, Peter and John come down the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:37-43), leading up to the moment in our passage. One finds Jesus offering words of judgement on the generation that stood before him and prophetic words of woe for cities, Pharisees and lawyers (Luke 9:4; 10:13-16; 11:29, 37-52). These strong indictments set the context for Jesus’ difficult words we encounter in the focal text.

Continue reading

John 21:1-19

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on April 10, 2016.

Hermano Leon Clipart
Hermano Leon Clipart

John’s epilogue provides a powerful conclusion to the gospel, despite the number of perplexing elements to the story.  A number of unanswered questions arise from the text.  Why do the disciples return to fishing?  Why are we told the specific number of fish caught in the nets (153)?  Why are there two different words for “love” mentioned in this text?  Why were the disciples able to catch fish simply by casting their nets on the other side of the boat?  While these enigmatic issues are fascinating, the preacher is better off centering the sermon on the clearer declarations within the text.

The setting invites some intertextual observations which can inform the sermon.  The disciples are fishing on the Sea of Tiberius (21:1).  The only other time the Sea of Tiberius is mentioned in the gospel is when it serves as the setting for the feeding of the 5000 in chapter 6.  In that story, Jesus provides a miraculous meal for a large crowd.  In this story, Jesus provides an ordinary breakfast for a small crowd.  In both stories, Jesus proves to be the provider for those who follow him.  Like God who provided manna in the wilderness, Jesus provides fish and bread to sustain his people in their need.

Continue reading