Several preachers who share their thinking and sermons online mentioned that this week's readings made challenging sermon fodder.
The Very Rev. John Downey of the Cathedral in Saint Paul in Erie, asks for help with his sermons almost every week in a You Tube feature called "This Preacher needs help." Here is what he had to say this week:
Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas dealt with the readings as follows:
If we take a step back what we see is that God is constantly drawing people together. Mark's Gospel is a gospel of the new creation a recreation of drawing people together. God is drawing people who are different together and Jesus is clear that we are the ones who defile these relationships. We defile marriage relationships and we defile communal relationships. We do this by turning away from the "other". We are drawn away from the "other" into relationships that boost our power, our voice, and our authority. We engage in relationships that diminish the "other" with whom we are bound.
God is remaking a new community. God in Christ Jesus as bridegroom is recreating the world and his bride the community of "little ones" (the term Mark uses for the first followers of Jesus). So as we look and we read we must remember that the defilement of this wedding garment will take place with Peter at the cock's crow. It will be the crowd who shouts "crucify him."
The Rev. Steve Pankey, who blogs at Draughting Theology, calls our attention to one particular concept:
The keystone text for understanding Genesis and Mark this Sunday morning is a line we will hear read twice on Sunday morning. Its original context is found in Psalm 8 and it gets quoted by the author of Hebrews in his treatment of Angels in chapter 2, but I think it is the key for preaching God’s view on marriage, divorce, and the place of children.
“What is man that you should be mindful of him?” (Ps 8.5a, BCP) or for a more gender neutral reading, the NRSV translates Hebrews 2.6b as “What are human beings that you are mindful of them…?”
The answer is, of course, that human beings are the only part of God’s creation that were made in the imago dei. We bear within and upon us the image of God. We are chief stewards, the managers of creation. We are, for all intents and purposes, God’s best and most beloved handiwork, and because of this, God is mindful of us.
And because God is mindful of us, the things that happen to us matter to him. And because these things matter to God, the pain we feel is felt by God. And because God feels our pain, Jesus takes a hard line on divorce and exploitation.
God cares enough about us to bring a hard line on the choices we make.
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