Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A
Well, darn it that my body isn't cooperating on the first week back that technology has allowed. A gut-related thing of some description.
What I can do for y'all under the circumstances is tell you what the theme of my reflection (or sermon, were I preaching) would be. When John the Baptizer recognizes Jesus as the "lamb of God," he's not thinking of some helpless creature. I've blogged about this before: that the phrase "lamb of God" might better be translated as "ram of God" -- a symbol of power.
John the Baptizer sees Jesus and recognizes God's power at work. Later -- at least, if accounts of John's disciples coming back to Jesus to question in him in what we sometimes call "Q" material (in Matthew and Luke) are to be taken seriously, John questions whether what Jesus is doing really represents God's power. Is it possible that God's power is shown in one brother leading another to Jesus, in teaching and healing, in the poor hearing Good News, if we're looking around and still seeing wrong happening and those we want to call wrongdoers being rewarded?
I would want a congregation to sit with that question for at least a moment before I tried to resolve it. I think people are empowered to live into Jesus' Good News more by being able to look directly into the chasm between God's justice, love, and reconciliation made complete and the world as it is today. So please don't rush from the question to an answer.
Actually, I think I might want to end a sermon this week with a question, asked from John's perspective: are you ready to trust Jesus as God's power at work on earth based on what you see of the injured being healed and the poor hearing Good News? If not, might not the remedy be to spend more time looking and listening for God's work and God's voice among the poor, rather than looking for (or worse yet, trying to become an agent of) God's punishment of the unjust?
Just asking. The question itself is more than enough to get my pulse quickening and my imagination working. How IS God at work in the world? How is God's power made manifest in this season of Epiphany? And is it enough? If not, where do I see a gap I want to be filled, and where in that sense might there be a call to me to participate in God's mission to fill that gap?
And thank you for your patience -- now that I'm back technologically, I will be back in full physically and mentally as well! I hope what I've said is helpful, and if you want more information on it, I recommend using the 'search this site' box in the left-hand sidebar to search for texts for this week or other texts you want to bring in, the phrase "lamb of God, and the phrases "John the Baptizer" and/or "winnowing shovel." Remember that if you put what you're looking for in quotation marks (e.g., "lamb of God" -- quotation marks just like that"), you'll get a list of all pages on SarahLaughed.net that use that precise phrase. Handy for looking for specific scriptural passages (e.g., "John 1") as well.
January 18, 2008 | Permalink
Glad you are back!
Posted by: Tripp | Jan 19, 2008 6:30:29 PM
So am I, my friend. So am I.
Really, thanks for hanging in there with me!
Posted by: Sarah Dylan Breuer | Jan 19, 2008 6:32:57 PM
Welcome back!! I have missed you greatly. I'll now resume checking you out each week and stealing your ideas for my sermons.
no really, I don't take your ideas. Perish the thought.
uh, well how exactly would you define stealing here?
Posted by: real live preacher | Jan 25, 2008 2:48:15 PM
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