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

The Sermon

      1.     Introduction:

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

      2.     Plain

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

      3.     Teaching

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

-         celebrities

-         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

 4.     Me

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?


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