Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sermon: 1 Lent (10 February 2008)

1 Lent: 10 February 2008
(Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7/Psalm 32/Romans 5:12-19/Matthew 4:1-11)
The Faithful Israelite: Jesus and the Mission of God

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

David Sedaris is an American in Paris, a satirical writer struggling with communication in general and with the French language in particular. His book of self-deprecating essays recounts his difficulties with the nuances of French; it’s titled Me Talk Pretty One Day, just the way an American in Paris might mangle the intended phrase. I though about David’s difficulty with communication and his longing to talk pretty as I prepared for this sermon: maybe Me Preach Pretty One Day. But today isn’t that day. Our lessons are broad and vast and sweeping in scope. They lie at the very heart of the gospel. I dare not risk obscuring them with clumsy attempts at rhetorical skill or even distracting from them by an eloquent turn of phrase. They call for simple speech and clear explanation – more teaching than preaching. That’s how I plan to engage the texts with you this morning.

In his book, The Last Word, on the nature and role of Scripture in the Christian experience, N. T. Wright describes the story of God and creation – up to the present anyway – as a play in five acts: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus, and the Church. The texts selected by and for the church this day implicitly cover all five acts.

[As you can tell from its introduction, the sermon for 1 Lent is a bit different in format, an exploration and discussion of the texts which encompass God's creat plan of redemption and restoration. I have no "script," only thorough notes to guide the discussion. While it is not feasible to post these on the blog, I will be pleased to send an MSWord file to anyone wishing to have them. Simply email me and I will respond with the file.]

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