This Sunday, I preach at Good Shepherd for the third time. If I've learned anything about preaching in the past two months, it's this: the lectionary during ordinary time is harder than it looks. Advent waits with a purpose, Lent prepares, Easter celebrates, Pentecost Sunday sends us out. But ordinary time is just so... ordinary. If you're used to the lectionary, then I'm sure you've noticed we've been reading a lot about Jesus taking on the "holier-than-thous" of his community, and so the message has contained a lot of "do this, not that" sayings.
Since I've been trained to preach the good news of Jesus' saving grace, these readings can prove to be troublesome. Don't get me wrong; "Love your neighbor as yourself" is a fantastic challenge of a commandment, but it's not the Gospel. Everyone has failed to follow this commandment, and we all need to hear how God still loves us, even when we leave things undone. So, I've been learning how to preach a commandment as important as this while still preaching the grace and forgiveness of the Gospel. It's not easy, and it takes a lot of thought. However, it's definitely a good learning experience, especially because ordinary time is the longest season of the church year, and my career will mostly consist of preaching on "ordinary" texts. And though I'm learning a lot, I'm definitely looking forward to Advent.
That's all for this week. I've got a sermon to write!