Some years ago, I was asked why I don’t preach topical or issues-based sermons. The short answer remains the same: With Saint Paul, I replied, “We preach Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2). But there is a little bit more to it than that. The Lectionary, a calendar of appointed readings, emphasizes the story of Scripture rather than topics. The point is to proclaim Christ and to announce the forgiveness and freedom that he brings through faith. Then, it’s up to you to decide what to do with your new-found freedom.
On Sunday, I spoke about “righteousness,” which I defined as a right relationship with God, with neighbors, and with the whole creation. For Matthew, “Righteousness is the reactor where the theme and the story of his Gospel creates the very power that ignites and energizes Christian life and community.” Christian righteousness does not fit neatly into our modern understanding of individualism or ideology. Instead, righteousness by faith in Christ is a disruptive and merciful event by which our whole lives are reoriented and wrapped up in the endless pursuit of the will of God. We will discover that righteousness is gift and calling. It is both expectation and freedom. As we study the Sermon on the Mount, may we experience the freedom to do as we ought and the faithfulness to follow Christ above all else.
In Forgiveness and Freedom,
To prepare for worship on Sunday
(June 14), you are invited to read:
Psalm 119:1-8: Matthew 5:21-26