Tag Archives: Stories of Jesus

Lost and Found, Part II

This week’s parables come from Luke rather than Matthew. The fifteenth chapter is a trilogy of stories about “lost and found.” The refrain after each story is that “there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repent than those who need no repentance.” That is until the story that is usually none as the “prodigal son.”

In that story there is no refrain, it ends with a father pleading for his son to come and  join the party “because his brother was lost and is found.” This story is often difficult to accept by those who play by the rules, do what is right,, are dutiful and for lack of a better term, “good.” This story is hard for respectable people and for many church people.

One of the things that Amy-Jill Levine noted in her book Short Stories by Jesus, is that somehow the elder brother was lost too. This wasn’t news to me, but her point about how Jesus’ listeners would have been cheering for the younger and stunned by his behavior caught me by surprise. I spent some time in my sermon  noting how often the “younger” sons come up as heroes in the Hebrew scriptures.

What was more unsettling to me, was when I really delved into the fact that the older son/brother was absolutely ignored in the party planning. I read into the story for the first the hurt, bewilderment and pain the brother must have felt at being forgotten and ignored.

This story by Jesus could be preached and experienced on many levels. Having preached this sermon many times, my sermon from August 6, 2017 is just one small slice of the depth of this story. You can find the worship service from First United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Stories of Jesus, Flour and Yeast

The first Sunday of July I began a sermon series, “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.” This sermon series has been very “fun” for me as I have wrestled with the very well known parables of Jesus.  Amy-Jill Levin’s book Short Stories by Jesus, the Engmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi, has given me a very different insight into those stories. Dr. Levine’s scholarship has broadened my biblical understanding as well as opened my imagination.

Sunday, I preached on the parable of the woman and the flour and the yeast from Matthew 13: 33. What stunned my mind and spirit was how often I have preached on this parable and not understood the amount of flour that was used. This blog post from Fr. Dominic Garramone was very helpful and I referenced it during my sermon.

The parables of Jesus are always new for me and surprising. Who knew, well I didn’t know, that the amount of flour was enough to feed a village. Jesus’ ability to challenge the status quo and to invite people into generosity and faith is truly amazing.

The worship services are posted each week through the website of First United Methodist Church.  You can watch it here.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized