Saturday, February 10, 2007

blessed are the homilists

Okay, so I've been checking, and I keep noticing that on Saturday evenings I get a surge in my site statistics. I have an as yet unconfirmed belief that the reason behind this surge is that I have more than a few clergy types who read, and that they are stopping by to visit as they procrastinate instead of writing their sermons!

I can't say I blame you. Writing sermons is serious business, and writing one week after week gets so exhausting some times. So, like a good patron saint, I thought maybe I should help you all out!

I took a look at the lectionary readings for the week, and now I really REALLY understand why you're procrastinating -- the Beatitudes? What else can you say about those??? And the first and second readings didn't do much for me either.

If I were going to preach tomorrow, which I'm not, but if I were, I think I'd be tempted to point out that this little spiel is referred to as the "Sermon on the Mount" and yet in Luke, it's on a plain. Which ain't much of a mount! And while Matthew and Mark are all mealy-mouthed and saying "Blessed are the poor in spirit", Luke cuts to the chase and says "Blessed are the poor." Luke's a straight-shooter. He doesn't want any rich jackasses being all "But I'm poor in spirit. I don't like myself! My parents never read me Goodnight Moon! I need to go on Oprah and talk and talk and talk about how very poor in spirit I am!"

I remember having to do a translation of this passage for Greek class, and I decided that the word for "blessed" (makarios, I believe) would be better translated as "fabulous." "Fabulous are they" may not have caught on yet, but trust me, someday it will.

Yeah, so maybe that's a little too harsh for the average parish. I don't know. You know your peeps better than I do so you decide. Far be it from me to cast my pearls before swine.

Maybe try back next week when the big JC gets all Tide-With-Bleach at the Transfiguration!


Sid said...

Okay. So, yes, I am procrastinating as I read your blog. And I regularly check your site when I'm procrastinating. But my sermon is already done. I plan to plagiarize my past self, because I had a date tonight (yes, with my wife). So I'm just procrastinating my reaquaintance with the mind of Sid2004.

And yes, I much prefer Luke's straight talk over Matthew. Luke gives us those lovely woes. I think all of us lazy First-World-ers need to hear some more woes. Except Anna Nicole Smith; maybe she's had enough lately.

But be careful with your talk, lady. Mark is no "mealy-mouthed" Matthew. He doesn't mess around with that Q crap. My man Mark's JC don't bless nobody but children and food.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Lesley said...

sid - A date? You crazy kids!

Okay, so I agree with you -- Matthew's JC is mealy-mouthed and Mark's is not. Mark has the kickass JC, what with all those "and immediately"'s and all. John has the spooky New Age gnostic JC, of course. And then Luke has got the social justice JC. Luke's of course is my favorite, since I suspect that if Luke wrote it today he'd have JC doing things like listening to NPR and buying fair trade coffee.

I'm just saying.

btw, I am glad you confirmed my suspicions that the sermon-procrastinators are reading! I had kind of suspected that you were my Linux reader...

Sid said...

Yes, you caught me. At night, when my wife is asleep, I experiment with free software in the basement.

I feel that I must apologize for the tone of my previous comment, though. I don't usually think it is appropriate to troll bloggers for such tiny misstatements in offhand comments regarding the synoptic problem. (This time, naturally, your comments are perfectly apt.)

But during sermon-writing time, the nitpicky demon erupts from my soul and gets very tough on misrepresentations of the text, and occasionally it attacks others. Sorry about that.

I believe that in some ways this demon makes my sermons better, but he also makes it awfully difficult to write anything.

That's why I tend to finish my sermons (or other writing projects) very late at night, when the inner nitpicker has grown panicked or tired, and he is willing to let a few heresies or whatever slip through the cracks if necessary.

Whence my late-night blogstalking on Saturdays. It is always a pleasure to read your blog.