It was a real gift to preach in Redding, CA in July. What a great community, with a history of LGBTQ+ inclusion. After preaching this sermon, I was told by a couple in the church that they were ready for my sermon because they had watched the Netflix stand up special Nanette by Hannah Gadsby the night before. “She talked about the same thing as you: self-effacing comedy when done by oppressed people is not humility; it’s humiliation.” What a cool connection to have made. Go watch Nanette. Seriously.
I remember studying this passage with evangelical friends in college who said how much they loved it; it sounds like communism BUT NOT COMMUNISM BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT JESUS. They worshipped a profoundly capitalist Jesus and this passage was a real struggle for them. It was a gift to share some reflections on what this passage means in a time of growing economic disparity today.
Every year this church hosts a Seven Last Words service with seven female preachers. This year I was assigned the seventh word: Father, into they hands I commend my spirit.
“Jesus Christ for President,” a sermon for Reign of Christ Sunday, First Christian Church of Concord, 11/26/17
I have been in the justice movement for a long time. I do work on the hard edges. And yet until last year I never thought I would have to preach about fascism.
The scripture for today was Matthew 25:31-46.
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
This message was based on the gospel passage about the 10 bridesmaids, 5 of whose oil lamps burn out and they miss out on the big party.
I hope that if you’re worried about getting all the details right in order to do good, this message will be an encouragement to you.
Plus, I sing. Who doesn’t love that? And I might mention social justice a little bit.
My sermons keep getting shorter. This sermon includes the scripture reading and intro. The passage is about Moses getting water from the rock when his people are thirsty, but also about how our fear causes us to do harm when it remains unchecked.
This sermon was based on the lectionary passage Exodus 16:2-15, where the Israelites who have just been led out of enslavement in Egypt complain that Moses has brought them there to die and how good they had it back in Egypt where there was really good stew and housing. My pastor used to call these folks the Back-to-Egypt Committee, and the narrative still seems true today.