Monday, September 15, 2008

Abel Lopez Kicks Some Homiletic Butt

My colleague, Abel Lopez, preached a kick-butt sermon yesterday on the lessons appointed for the Sunday Closest to September 14 ... Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:21-35.

I commend the whole sermon -- entitled "Rewriting Our Stories" to you ... click here for the video and settle in for a real treat.

But -- if you're in a hurry and want the "executive summary" ... here it is:

Paul was a good and faithful servant. He wanted more than anything to preserve the Church and yet he was confronted with a major obstacle to the church remaining in unity.

With great passion and a strong sense of what was right or what was wrong the Jewish converts to Christianity and the Gentile converts were in a bitter dispute. The theological disagreement came down to beliefs regarding the eating of meat and the observance of the Sabbath.

Paul understood that both sides needed to move beyond customs, beliefs, and teachings that at best were petty and at worse were exclusionary and judgmental.

The beauty of Paul’s leadership here is that he did not take sides. He did not frame one belief as better, or right, rather he said to each they should act according to their conscience. However, in doing so they had to respect their differences and not be a stumbling block to the goals and visions of their brothers and sisters.

What would Paul have done if one of the converted groups had refused this idea? If one of them had said that the other had to change or they would leave? I’d like to believe that Paul would have let them leave.

1 comment:

David said...

Feast of John Coleridge Patteson 2008

Dearest Susan...
Yes , Abel Lopez did
kick "homeletic butt "...I am sitting here after watching the entire sermon with tears running down..but it is far deeper...Indeed ,
I heard the Voice of our Awesome &
Loving God through the mouth of my brother Abel..
Pray for the Church...
Pray for all Bishops, priests , and
deacons ...
David Lyon