Monday, March 5, 2007

From Scripture to Sermon

Monday mornings, my first meeting of the week is lectionary group. At 9:00, from 3-6 of us minister types meet to attempt to shake off the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat clinging to us from the sermon-making attempt of the previous week. And to start the process of sermonizing all over again.

This is my first experience with a lectionary group. (So-called because we all have agreed to use texts from the Revised Common Lectionary as the basis for our worship work.) When I began attending, I had a tiny reservation about the group: we're all preachers. Shouldn't sermons be written with the congregation whose going to have to hear them? But I've discovered that our very different congregations do, in fact, shape what each of us has to say. Most weeks our sermons, though sharing the same text, are as different as our churches are. Or as we are. Which is to say VERY different.

But this week, I thought maybe I could have the advantage of the congregation's thoughts, insights, questions, understandings. Will you look at this passage and tell me how it strikes you, as we enter our 4th week of Lent?

Luke 13:1-9

There were some present at that very time who told Jesus of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, NO; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
And he told them this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, 'Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?' And he answered him, 'Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

Well? What do you think/feel when you hear that? What pops out and puzzles you? What needs investigating? That's where I usually start. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you.


Kansan said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking the "Holy Rollers" could have a hay day with that one! As a fairly literal Presbyterian, it seems to say to me that one sin is no worse or better than any other--so you better repent regardless. The parable about the fruitless fig bush makes me think he expects us to not just sit around being ornamental but to "bear fruit". In looking up "fruit" in the concordance, a similar reference is to John 15:2. ("He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit....") I guess one conclusion COULD be that a Christian that is not "fruitful" is as bad as any other sinner?

I sure hope someone else comes up with something less dire.
But thanks for asking!

pastor cindy said...

I will tell you that there were only three of us there this morning. One said it was his associate's turn to preach and the other said he was using the OT passage (Isaiah) as his text. Tomorrow I'll post that one. Maybe you'll like it better!

Kansan said...

Can you believe that the scripture for today in the "These Days" book was this very scripture??? (At least the first part) What a nice surprise! How did they know??? :-)