Shoving Jesus Over a Cliff and Other Bad Habits
Here’s a heads up for all you aspiring preachers out there. Don’t ever be snotty about a scripture passage or someone will challenge you to preach on it.
That’s what happened to me.
I arrived at 4 Epiphany and the 1 Corinthians 13 passage came up.
I immediately groaned, visions dancing through my head of skimpily dressed bridesmaids and questionably sober groomsmen staring off into space while this text was read at weddings I’ve officiated and attended.
My inner cynic popped up—overdone! Trite! Boring!
A friend immediately called me on it.
“1 Corinthians 13 is a beloved scripture. If you think it’s so dumb, why don’t you preach on it?”
Well, I couldn’t let a challenge like that pass me by.
And he’s right. It is a beautiful scripture, that’s the reason it has been so used so many times that it has become clichéd.
It’s theologically sound, and considering many of St. Paul’s works, quite pastorally sensitive.
I just have such a hard time stepping back and appreciating it for what it’s worth.
Even in my mind when I think of it, I recite it like a bored teenager: “Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious or boastful, blah, blah, this is dumb, I’m going to update my facebook.”
This is exactly the moment when visitors to our congregation could rightfully ask, “And this woman is a priest?”
Yes, I am, and clergy are not immune to being unable to value the treasures that are right in front of them.
We have a perfect example of the phenomenon in our gospel today, when Jesus’ hometown friends and family try to throw him off a cliff. Continue reading