Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sermon: Pentecost 13A

I’m not one who believes that God is pulling the strings of a puppet-like universe, but I have to wonder how this gospel popped up on the Sunday which happens to be the 10 year anniversary of the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. I don’t know if I should read anything inappropriate into the collision of events, as if God had manipulated the lectionary to tell us something about how to process our memory of that September morning.

There are many who believe that there is no divine collusion between this morning’s bible readings and this particular event. Many of the worship planning materials and sermon help websites suggest changing the gospel for this Sunday into something more palatable.

After all, how can we talk about forgiveness after such a terrible and horrific attack? How can we read this passage in light of the hostility, violence, and death that took place that morning? How we hear Jesus’ call to reconciliation with our enemies when our enemies are filled with so much fanatical hatred?

This text cannot speak to this moment, they say. There must be a more appropriate text to mark the day.

Preach about God’s comfort for the grieving. Preach about the need for community and human connection. You can even talk about the human longing for peace. But you cannot talk about forgiveness. Forgiveness opens up a wound that was calloused over. So, they say, find a better text.

But I can’t. This text...(whole thing here)

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