Epiphany VI, February 13

Savor this and next week in Epiphany. We don’t often get these. Because Easter is relatively late the weeks of Epiphany have expanded to make room. Correspondingly the Sundays after Pentecost will reduce to accommodate this quirk in our calendar: Easter follows both a lunar and a solar schedule. I like this as it lets us assert that we are not entirely of this world with its rigid calendars. We are in it, but not of it.

This week Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Plain for us. It is the too often neglected sibling of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Jesus brings both blessings and woes in this section which corresponds to the beatitudes. The preacher will want to work that reality into his preaching. Which side of the Lord’s ledger do we find ourselves on? The blessed are poor, hungry, weeping, and hated people. The wretched upon whom he speaks woe are rich, well fed, laughing, and popular. I cannot speak to all of those for all of us, but I have noted more than a few circumferentially challenged Lutherans in my days doing pulpit supply as a professor at Concordia.

In truth, we are always, this side of glory, in both sides of the ledge, sinners and saints. it is an uncomfortable place for us to be and preachers especially find it difficult. Our sermons are messy and resist the need and simple answers which people crave. But it is the truth which sets us free and the truth which we proclaim. Preach well!

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