November 18, 2009

From Philosphy to Practice and Back Again

I love my lectionary Bible Study. We are a wild and wooly bunch of priests, pastors, and licensed lay preachers who are passionate about our traditions, sure of our theologies, and loving all at the same time. For those of you who went to seminary with me, you'll be shocked to know I'm probably the most liberal member of our group, and this week that almost got me in trouble.

The gospel lesson for Sunday is all about truth. For whatever reason the lectionary folk decided to skip the last line of the interaction between Pilate and Jesus. You know, the one where Pilate asks, "What is truth?"

That amazingly complex question took us deep down a philosophical rabbit hole. I mean deep. I won't bore you with the details, but it involved Jehovah's Witnesses, Jamaican Rum Cream, and capitalization. Anyway, Dr. Jay brought us around to the fact that a philosophical conversation from the pulpit is pretty darn worthless and when it came down to practical preaching, my thought is this.

One of the earliest creedal (and political) statements that followers of Jesus made was, "Jesus is Lord." This meant that Caesar wasn't. This also is a totally foreign concept to 21st century Americans. We've got a President when can vote out of office in 4 years. We've got a government we can openly question. We wrote Kings and Queens out of our Prayer Book 230 some years ago. We don't get Lord, King, Reign, etc.

So I think the task of preacher this week is to translate for the congregation what it means that Jesus is Lord. Not based on other creeds, not based on theological presuppositions like the Virgin Birth, but based on real ways of living. If Jesus is Lord that means nothing else; money, sex, power, xbox, meth, winning - nothing else can be Lord if Jesus is Lord.

No comments: