Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shhhh... Don't Talk About What We Should Shhhh...un

This Sunday we were presented with an interesting combination of Bible readings:

a) Psalm 139:1-5,12-17

b) 1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20)

c) 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

d) John 1:43-51.

I would challenge you to guess which one of these would be the most likely scriptural passage to not be expounded upon  in a Sunday sermon?

(Insert theme music from "Final Jeopardy" here)

Got it yet?

Okay,

Drum roll...

Answer (c) is correct.

Let's read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and try to figure out why we might not hear a teaching from the pulpit on the subjects of this passage.


‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’, and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, ‘The two shall be one flesh.’ But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.


Yikes! I am amazed that one even got in the Sunday Lectionary. I would have guessed it would have been shortened to,


‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’, and God will destroy both one and the other. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.


I heard a couple of comments from the sheep that the reading was all about sex, and that Paul was obesessed with sex. Such comments are clearly meant to diminish the power and importance of Paul's words and say more about us than they do about the apostle. My reply to those individuals was that 1) Paul was right, and 2) It wasn't that Paul was obsessed with sex, but the Corinthians were the ones with the problem (read Chapters 5-7 of 1 Corinthians again).

Another way you can diminish the power and authority of Paul's words is to not refer to them at all during the sermon.


9 comments:

  1. Our pastor has lain aside the RCL for Sundays and is selecting readings to compliment themes in his current preaching series in Hebrews.

    I've quit using the RCL for daily readings and use the original (sans 1871 revisions) 1662 calendar.

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  2. Chuck,

    What liberties do AMiA churches have as regards liturgy, prayer books, hymn books, and readings for daily office and Sunday services?

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  3. It's amazing how there always seems to be a pesky scripture which contradicts the latest fashion. It's almost as though God saw this coming.

    Cheers.

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  4. Randall,

    Yep, and it is the pesky ones that we would rather not discuss, and if not discussed, then they will not be forgotten.

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  5. Is there an RCL Daily lectionary? I didn't think there was one yet.

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  6. And now a comment more on your very timely topic, as I think the Psalm is just as toxic for many of our Episcopal preachers, and perhaps less easily set aside (as so many do 1 Corinthians just as you mentioned in the post-liturgy comments from the ignorant). But anyone who needs to hide from the truth (like an ostrich) will do whatever they have to do to spin it out.
    The Psalm is easily tied into the personal illustration and import of the Incarnation. And there are sermons out there that have tried to place less human person-from-conception, and more on the personal feminine strength of Mary in her "choice."
    Now see, I said all that and didn't mention the Name above all Names once, nor the "a" word.

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  7. For what it's worth, I'm an Episcopal priest and I preached on the 1 Corinthians passage last Sunday, with a healthy bit of Psalm 139 thrown in for good measure. You can hear it here:

    http://www.comforterchurch.org/podcast/sermons/we-are-our-bodies

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  8. conciliaranglican,

    I just finished listening to your sermon. Thanks, I knew somebody out there would have given it a go! Your congregation is very fortunate.

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  9. Back to your earlier question, it appears there is a lot of liberty in AMiA parishes.

    We usually read from the RCL on Sundays, but we're in a study of Hebrews which has a rich stratum of Old Testament references.

    Our liturgy is a somewhat similar to TEC liturgy, but during Lent we use the Kenyan liturgy, my personal favorite. Prayer books? Right now my family is the only one using one for private devotions (1662); on Sundays everything is projected on a screen for the congregation to follow.

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