I appreciate the tradition of a defined Lectionary. In fact I find it useful, it is one less decision to make when preparing for weekly sermons. However, this week’s reading from Luke, actually the last couple of weeks have caused me to wonder if we are doing damage to our congregations’ experience of Holy Scripture, by slicing it up into bits, often breaking up what should be continuous segments, some of which we skip. I think this is an extension of a thought, that became a kernel of my Easter Vigil Sermon, that congregations are rarely exposed to the long arch of the story of salvation as revealed in scripture. It is an important story. In the same manner, I am wondering of our struggles with the story of the dishonest steward is because we read it as a stand alone bit, when in fact it is part of a sequence which Luke thoughtfully, prayerfully, wove together. I am beginning to realize we can not possibly glean what God ,via Luke’s hand, is revealing if we don’t put it in context; just like we can not really understand the fullness of God’s amazing love for us, for all humanity, for all creation, if we do not know the entirety of the divine relationship as revealed in all of scripture.
I don’t have a clue about what to do about the difficulties of the Lectionary. I am about certain I will go back and read all of Luke 14 through 16, looking for the continuity, seeking the nuanced argument, that is leading us into deeper, truer relationship with God in Jesus the Christ; and perhaps how to leave this week’s sermon as preface for what’s to come.
It’s an odd strategy, but it is not the first time I’ve had to back up, to move forward.