Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany – Series C
The last couple of years have served the preacher well today because they have exposed much of our otherwise unconsidered idolatry. We worship safety and security, and we are willing to sacrifice a great deal on that altar. We have had our economic security threatened and that is ongoing. Have you checked your mutual funds lately? We imagine that a good life is one in which we die in our sleep at a ripe old age, preferably with little fuss or drama. But hospitals are full again and this virus has brought back to us the specter of an untimely and randomly timed death. People are increasingly willing to sacrifice friendships, careers, and more to assert our right to a humanly defined freedom, either freedom from a vaccine or freedom from the unvaccinated. Many of our idols are being exposed for what they are. Only Christ can help us.
Jesus asks us to imagine another kingdom than the one we live in now. The ways of this world, which operates by the principles of its dark and twisted master, are not kind to people, especially the little people. Remember, Jesus has come to preach good news to the poor (Epiphany III). He started on this theme with his very first sermon. Jesus is again inverting the worldly order of Satan’s dominion. The problem is that too often we as Christians have identified the worldly order as the normal and Christian order. Does that put us on the wrong side of this ledger, in the “woe” category? Let’s admit it, Lutherans are for the most part solidly middle-class sorts of folks. Perhaps we are not among the super-wealthy by American standards but by world standards are in the wealthy side of this ledger. Looking in my own mirror and at the expansive girths of my parishioners, we are also on the well-fed side of the spectrum. Jesus words of blessing and woe are not looking good.