It is the First Sunday of a new Liturgical Year. Time to do some thinking and planning as a pastor and as a provider of Sunday Sermon. I have long had a practice of preaching one lesson in the lectionary throughout the year, either the Gospel, Epistle, or Old Testament reading. I even have taken a stab at preaching the psalms. I found that year very difficult for me, but I think I was simply not ready for that. I would like to try that again sometime.
But this year I want to preach the Old Testament/First reading. I am teaching a class at the University of Portland this year. It is an introduction to the Bible course for all students. Just as I was at Concordia, I am saddened and dismayed at the fact that students have almost know familiarity or facility in the Old Testament. I remember Paul Raabe talking about marcionite tendencies in the protestant world and I concur with him. While we acknowledge the validity of the Old Testament as Scripture, we just do not preach and teach it enough. But I would contend that the NT without the OT cannot speak to us, just as the OT without the NT is not truly complete.
I won’t go into why we ignore the OT today. There are many reasons for this. But rather what I plan to do is preach the Old Testament this next year and offer up a new sermon on the first reading in addition to a sermon on the Gospel reading. You will notice a couple of other changes this week if you are a subscriber. We will be taking into account the RCL. When there is a different reading, we will include that in the commentary. Most of the time the readings are the same or very similar, often ending either a few verses short of long of each other.
I pray God’s blessings on this year A adventure you are about to embark upon. Matthew’s themes of Christ’s fulfillment of the OT, the inclusion of Gentiles (you and me!), and the church seem particularly important for us now.