All three of the readings assigned for this week are about relationship. The Hebrew Scriptures speak of the first Passover and the new covenantal relationship between God and the children of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. The Gospel, read from St. Matthew’s account, tells us about how to live with one another when conflict arises in the community. And the third reading, from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, is about the guiding principles of the community and its internal relationships in this present age.
It’s Paul’s writing that I focus on this week, but in the larger context of what he writes just before the text assigned. In the lead up to his admonition to be a loving community that is a witness to the wider world of who Christ is and of what the Holy Spirit is accomplishing, he tells us that it’s important for us to obey the authorities that are persecuting that nascent body of believers. It’s that tension between what our internal and our external life should look like that is the theme of this week’s sermon.
Or actually was the theme of the sermon I preached three years ago on these texts. (I’m just coming to the end of my yearly vacation, and though I’ve been good about violating the terms of my vacation covenant and writing and posting sermons for the past few weeks, this week, I’m going to repost something.) We’re getting to the point where I can do that on occasion.
You can find the direct link to the sermon here.