Proper 15 – Series B
When Paul calls the hearer out of a darkness, he has a very specific darkness in mind, the unspeakable acts which modesty prevents him from naming. One does not have to look too far afield to see what he is talking about in today’s society either. We look more and more like the decadent Roman society with every passing year. This sermon will also call the hearer out of darkness, but it also reminds the hearer that we too are those who have been brought from darkness to light. There can be spiritual pride here, which should be replaced with thanksgiving and praise to God for mercy given and grace bestowed. As Paul said earlier, you too were dead in your sins (Eph 2;1) and God made you alive in Christ (Eph 2:6 and 8-10)
For the preacher who is facing a congregation of mostly retirees, this text may seem like it is addressed to other people. But there are two ways to go here. First of all, my wife worked in a nursing home for a while and can attest that the unmentionables of Paul’s day are found, albeit infrequently, even in the nursing home crowd. But there are other passions than libidinous to which we can succumb and some of them are even more prevalent in older adults: greed, a lust for power and control, self-centered rage, etc. These two were part and parcel of Roman life. Did you hear him call covetousness idolatry in the omitted verses?