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God gets down and dirty

September 5, 2009

This Sunday I will be preaching on the theme: God is on whose side? The texts for the day are an amusing (and potentially troubling) juxtaposition of the story of the Syro-Phoenecian woman in Mark 7: 24-30 and James’s exhortation against partiality in James 2: 1-10, 14-17 in which it is asserted (echoing much of prophetic literature) that ‘God chooses the poor…’. In the sermon (to be posted) I mix up questions of election (of Israel etc) and what is popularly called God’s preferential option for the poor – two themes closely related to the pervasive notion of “covenant”. I basically intend to contend that God offers no universal salvation apart from particular, historical, transformative, engagement with human community. How else could/would the God of Israel (transcendent creator and redeemer of all creation) save? Thus God does partake in a kind of partiality, which is an inverse partiality from the kind of partiality that tempts us as human beings. If it sounds like the sermon is going to be a volume in systematic theology – it’s not. Hopefully the sermon doesn’t end up sounding like a volume of systematic theology.

Postscript: After a sermon on that theme it feels to me important to emphasis an open table for the Eucharist. I’m planning on saying something like this … .Welcome to the baptized…who have stepped over the threshold into family life, welcome also to all who simply wish to receive divine hospitality (among many things this is the drama of divine hospitality – and we can hardly read today’s gospel reading and not share food with baptized and non-baptised alike

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2009 5:51 am

    Sounds great Bruce … and I look forward to reading the whole thing. I also like the new look: I always thought your hair was a wee bit too tidy 🙂

  2. Karen permalink
    September 7, 2009 12:32 pm

    Were’d you get a picture of my Dad?

  3. Karen permalink
    September 7, 2009 12:39 pm

    Rev. Dr to ‘Z’ or not to ‘Z’ that is the question!

    I refer to “baptized and non-baptised” in your little missive. Now personally being a 5th generation British person living in the colonies I go with the ‘s’, and I do belive I was baptised in a Baptist church (Baptizt looks kinda kooky). Consistency is the key!
    (can you tell I had no computer for a week whilst incarcerated in that hole they call a hospital?)lol

  4. André permalink
    September 7, 2009 10:32 pm

    Hey Bruce,
    This sounds great. Although, I hope the promise to post it doesn’t indicate that you will be reading your sermon. You don’t want to be like the Reverend Colquohoun…
    “The second to try was an old bit man from Banff, shaking and old, and some said he’d be best, he’d have quietened down at his age, not aye on the look out for a bigger kirk and a bigger stipend. For if there’s a body on earth that would skin a tink for its sark and preach for a pension in purgatory it’s an Auld Kirk minister. But the poor old brute from Banff seemed fair sucked dry. He’d spent years in the writing of books and things, the spunk of him had trickled out into his pen, forbye that he read his sermons; and that fair settled his hash to begin with. So hardly a soul paid heed to his reading…”
    (Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song, 53).

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