22 December 2008

In this lull...

...between the end of grading and the joyous Christmas liturgy, I have the time to re-organize my office and indulge in a little non-necessary reading. Currently I'm enjoying Miguel de Unamuno's The Tragic Sense of Life. I don't endorse all its contents, but Unamuno is delightful in his expression, and thought-provoking in his views.

15 December 2008

Sermon outline from 14 December

Note: I'm up to my eyeballs in finals grading. Here's the rough outline of my sermon from yesterday. The text was Luke 14:16-24.

The whole chapter has dealt with dining

> It begins with our Lord healing a man in the house of a Pharisee where he had gone to eat.

> Then Christ tells two parables:

o how to act as guest when you’re invited;

o who to invite when you’re the host

> Now comes our text.

A man prepares a great banquet. He invites many. Then he sends out his servant to let them know: “All is now ready.”

This man is our Lord himself. The banquet is his Kingdom; the servants are those who call and invite us. Hear the words: “All is now ready”—sheer gift to those who would come.

But those who were invited make excuses. “I have bought a field. I have bought five yoke of oxen. I have married a wife.”

Each of these represent reasons why people refuse. The field is the necessities of this life; the oxen are the useful things of this life; the wife is the relationships of this life.

So the master tells the servants to invite others: the poor and maimed, the blind and the lame. This is done, but still there’s room.

The Jews were first-invited. When they refused, the Master turned to us, the Gentiles.

Think of the implication. If the banquet is the Kingdom, then we must learn to think of ourselves in a new way: poor, maimed, blind and lame. All is of God’s mercy. None is of our merit.

“Still there is room”—so there is room for me too.

Yet the man is not done. The banquet must be filled, so he sends the servants out.

Each person they met was someone for the Master’s banquet. And so it is with us, when we go forth. Each one we meet is someone for his banquet. Let us so live a life of gratitude and service, that we "compel" them to come and find what we have received.