14th Sunday After Pentecost Proper 17 (22) 3 September 2023
Sermon title: “The Table of Hospitality”
Romans 12: 9-21 Love from the center of who you are. . . . Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Matthew 16: 21-28 “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.”
Synopsis: Last month, when we celebrated Communion, remembering the gifts of bread and cup as living witness to God’s boundless generosity. This month, we focus on the celebration of the Eucharist as an expression of God’s hospitality that expands our definition of community. God’s Hospitality and generosity are closely linked, but they are not the same. Jesus’ lesson at the last supper was clear: the meal of the kin-dom of God is for ALL. Saints, strangers, those who persecute and betray you, those who are joyful and those who weep. This is a time to consider how we are to extend hospitality to those we might ordinarily want to avoid or exclude. The author of the epistle letter to the Romans reminds us and invites us to do as Jesus did — “do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.” In the words of Jesus, “take up your cross and follow me.” This requires that we follow God’s way in offering a good meal at God’s table for all of God’s guests.