Proper 21 – Series B
This sermon wants to avoid the big and dramatic. It wants to notice that idolatry often lives in the pews of regular congregations like our own. I have served three parishes, all three of them struggled with this, admittedly differently, but each struggled. You won’t have to look too far to find a place and time when your congregation or another you have served has had this struggle either as individual members or as a body. It was true in the first century and it is true in the 21st century. You may not have many folks who abusing their workers, but you probably have more than a few who want to hear the treasurer’s report first at the council meeting and don’t really care about the rest of the meeting’s reports, least of all the evangelism report. Worse, they want to hear the evangelism report only so they can measure the pastoral worth and the congregational financial solvency. Both sorts of folks are struggling with an idolatrous relationship with money. I probably do not even need to get you started on the times that power plays and language have played into the way a congregation operates. I recently heard from a friend who was struggling with a Board of Education at a parish which was almost completely off the rails over how its parochial school adapted to the COVID pandemic. But this is not new. The neighboring parish to my father’s was located downtown, even though they owned property on the north side of town which would have been much more convenient for the many parishioners who lived on the farms north of the little village. But a rainstorm has flooded the creek north of town on the night when the voter’s meeting had been called to settle the question of where the church was to be located. The folks who lived in town could come, the farmers could not. The church is in the middle of town.