A Plain Sermon?
Gate Pa – Year C 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
Psalm Psalm 1
First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-10
Second Reading: 1 Cor 15:12-20
Gospel: Luke 6:17-26
What I want to say:
To explore Luke’s version of this block of teaching and asking, why is it on a plane and not on a Mount, and what Luke might have thought “blessed” meant compared to what we too easily think it meant. And lastly where do I fit with all of this – I think I am numbered in the group being “woed” and warned.
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on where they fit with all of this and what that might mean for them as they approach this Lent
don’t hear these readings often in church
apart Psalm 1
Easter is about as late as it can go
earliest possible date for Easter is March 22 and the latest possible is April 25.
2016 was as early as it will get until 2035
2030 this late again
2038 – on ANZAC day
none which make any difference to most of us here today
extra Sundays between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday
get hear some readings might not otherwise
which is a pity
Luke’s version of story heard today is a great story
more used to Matthew’ sermon on a Mount in Matthew 6
notice any differences apart from one is in Matthew and one is in Luke
- on a plain
- blessed are the poor (in spirit)
- blessed are those who are hungry (hunger for righteousness)
as we look at these two things keep in mind
a. Luke writing to Theophilus – assumed to well off
b. we are to read Luke through lens of his reading of Isaiah in Nazareth and Magnificat
Luke story is set on a plane not mount overlooking Capernaum
mount – wahi tapu – sacred place
- Matthew show how Jesus is new Moses
- sermon on Mount is new reading of Torah
o lens through which read rest of gospel
plain – wahi noa
- places of corpses, disgrace, suffering, misery, hunger and mourning –
o Ronald J. Allen on Working Preacher offers a lot biblical examples
Jesus comes down from Mountain and into the midst
- poor people
- sick people
- people possessed by demons
- desperate people
- broken people
- surrounding him
- grabbing hold of him
This is what the year of the Lord’s favour looks like
he is standing in broken place among broken people
“proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”
Another way plain is used in Isaiah and Ezekiel – sign coming salvation of God
high places and low place are made level
this broken place is transformed into a place of hope where reign of God is breaking into their broken world
turns disciples and gives Luke’s version of The Beatitudes
“ Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
so what is blessed?
Jeremiah, and many others would say
- blessed with long life, health, many children, and wealth
- whole theology in Christianity based on this understanding of blessed
but not what Greek means
number ways Greek can be read
most point to concept of “honoured”
people of great honour are people looked up to
- tended to be people of power and wealth,
- who because wealth access to better food and medical care
o way less arduous work life
- tended live longer with more children
Here – as in Matthew
Jesus saying the honoured people in God’s eyes are
poor, hungry, those who mourn
broken people he is standing in the midst of
not person Luke is writing his gospel for
that person is more likely to be included in the next wee bit
the woes or warnings
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”
all of which we have heard in Mary’s song of protest
but here laid out
reign of God is not business as usual with the rich staying rich
because wealth of rich and powerful is based on poverty of poor
in Jesus world - @90% population
what is Luke offering here
picture of reign of God being in the midst of poorest, broken people
where is God at work?
Jesus shows us – in the midst of the profane and broken
where are we to look for the ongoing work of God?
in the midst of the profane and broken
in the midst of poorest, broken people
not in places like this
not in wonderful cathedrals
- with important people up front on elevated platforms
- in the seats of the important
honest feel pretty moticated by all that
find warnings more troubling
I am in global scheme among to rich
in this country I am not wealthy
nor am I poor?
how is my middle class comfortable like built on the poverty of others?
in this country and overseas
as we approach Lent
how might these warning apply to me?
what might Lent offer me and opportunity to address?