One of the things about preaching is that it is an in the moment, face to face, art. The written sermon is just not the same as being there. I say this because I really do intend all of my sermons to be a conversation between me and the congregation--hopefully a conversation mediated and inspired by the Holy Spirit. So, in a way, the written sermon always seems a bit "dead" to me...without the people who truly give life to the written word.
Today was a clear case of that...I struck out almost an entire page of my sermon following the 8am service. It wasn't that I thought it was "bad", but rather because I knew something else was demanded.
In hearing the Passion read aloud I heard something new...something that I am rather shocked I'd missed.
The first victim of violence in the narrative of the Passion is a slave. He had no weapon, no choice in being there. He was an innocent by virtue of his powerlessness.
Then, I realized, the entire narrative is driven towards the sacrifice of an innocent--Jesus.
Yes, here we had a powerful reminder that we must stand against all forms of violence because in doing so, we protect the innocent--rather than watching at the foot of the cross, we find ourselves called to prevent the cross (in this case a tool of execution).
The innocent are the first victims...
And, in proclaiming the Gospel, we are called to stand for the victims.
So, strike page 3, insert commentary on mimetic theory...