As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Discipleship amidst the desolation, was given at The Salvation Army Rochester on Sunday February 24, 2019. The Reading was Luke 6:17-26.
Placing us – Have you ever?
I want to start by playing a little game. I’m going to ask a question, and if it applies to you, I want you to raise your hand.
I want you to think back over the last week. Has anybody paid you a compliment? If someone has spoken some kind words about you in the last week, please raise your hands. (For those with their hands up, you might like to look to those with their hands down and see if you can repay that compliment).
Again, over the last week, if you can think of a time where you have laughed – either a little chuckle, or a full bellied guffaw, then raise your hands.
If you have food in your fridge, which is in a house that you are able to live in and gives you a safe place to sleep and to store the clothes that you are wearing, please raise your hands.
If you have money in your bank, some in your purse or wallet (either actual cash or accessible through a debit card), and some loose change in a dish at home somewhere, raise your hand.
Let me read this passage again.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: Luke 6:20-26 (NRSV)
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
Did you know that if you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head with a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.
If you have money in the bank, in your purse or wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthiest people.
In response to those statistics, how do you feel about this reading?
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