What Didn’t Make the Cut
June 3, 2018
A twenty-minute sermon necessitates that some ideas and quotes fall to the ground of the cutting room floor. Below are some of those which didn’t quite make it past the first round from this last Sunday.
The right wrist twists. The rumble of pent up power rises to the next decibel and the ride is afoot. Destination, unknown. Here a left turn. There a right. Maybe another right at the next intersection. Who knows? Who cares?
The above occurs frequently when I am on two wheels. This last week it took place as I sat in my office recliner and explored the text, Mark 2:1-12. I begin the week contemplating the text in the original language. The difference between an English translation and the Greek is similar to watching a television show in black and white or color. I felt pretty good with the ideas that were germinating until I begin reading some other scholar’s insights. The sermon made an unexpectant right turn.
For example, Ched Meyers in his book “Binding the Strong Man,” a political reading of Mark’s story of Jesus, offered the following insights.
The healing of the paralytic was an attack on the debt system of the first century.
The word for “forgive” appears in the language of the debt code.
Jesus releases the paralytic from all debt which results in restoration of social wholeness and personhood, which in turn is equated with the restoration of physical wholeness. Still applicable for 21st century social justice work and concerns.
Jesus, as the “Human One,” is wrestling away from the scribal and priestly class their “authority on earth.”
The sermon made a left turn after reading the work of Thomas Wittendorff who highlighted three unique contributions Jesus made in the area of forgiveness.
Not only God, but humans as well, have the power and are capable of forgiving.
The human capacity to forgive does not derive from God. Forgiveness is primarily a human power insofar as humans must practice forgiveness of each other before they can hope to be forgiven by God.
Forgiveness is directed to the person, not the wrong deed; the wrongdoer not the wrong.
After reading Wittendorff’s article, I asked myself two questions:
Why do we forgive? To get something from God or because of the benefits I gain?
With what authority do we offer forgiveness to another?
Throughout the week of sermon prep the time constraints are continually in the back of my mind. Sunday is coming. Therefore, I am limited in how many turns I can make and how far I can let another article or book take me. At times this is frustrating. However, It’s never a boring ride.
If you would like to hear what made the cut, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beatitudesradio/2018/06/05/gathering-33-jesus-is-in-the-house to hear the sermon.
Rev. Tony Minear, PhD. is the Lead Pastor at Church of the Beatitudes a Progressive Christian Church based in Phoenix AZ.
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