It is 10:30 and I am preparing my senior sermon. I am preaching on Luke 23:33-43. I am working the idea of silence in the season of advent on the Reign of Christ Sunday. What does it mean to be silent, why be silent?
Here is a few paragraphs from the sermon:
We cannot accept the silence. We like the candy coated Jesus with the parables, challenging the rich of which we are not a part of. We like the Buddha Jesus dispensing peaceful wisdom like Kane from Kung Fu. We like the mighty minority Jesus demanding justice for all oppressed and marginalized folks. Then we turn to wise ancient Jesus with all the right things to say that drive us to insight and a happy ending after all. We will seek anything but the broken, bleeding, dying, human Jesus. Up there on the cross forgiving his tormentors. Blessing the thief.
Jesus is dying on the cross. He is up there bleeding and suffering. He has been mocked, beaten, and scorned. Jesus speaks up for forgiveness, for whom? Folks are divvying up his stuff. There Jesus is dying between two criminals…Jesus says, “today you will be with me in Paradise” then nothing. The pericope ends. We know that Christ calls out for God to take him. We know the silence is not the end of it. But right now, today…the only appropriate response to Jesus upon the cross is silence.
What can we say? Jesus is dying on the cross. His death is a cosmic change. Nothing we say is adequate in response or appropriate. We don the mourner cloak and mourner with the others.
What an odd place to take about the death of Jesus? Right before we enter in to the majestic mysterium of advent and the birth of Christ, we pause here at his death. No adjective, noun, verb, and even expletive can describe what is at stake in that pause. Silence is all we can offer. With tears in our eyes, jaws dropped, or lump in our throats we wait. We wait for the birth of the promised hope we just left dying on the cross. That is one heck of a leap!
to be preached Friday November 30th at 11:00 am in Shelton Chapel at Austin Seminary. Prayers would be appreciated. It is my pray that I be faithful to the calling on my life and not hurt anyone as I seek to be useful to God’s Kingdom.