Lent Sermon Essay

1858 words - 7 pages

Brilliant white light-flicker shimmers; steel-gray on the wind above soft-rolled, angry cotton, dirty and coldly clouding the wind-blown, wool-white blanket below, softly dusted spindly pine and desert scrub bric-a-brac over bedrock color of claret – no sound, all muffled soft, enwrapped in winter like an icy blanket. Call it imagery: visual, tactile, aural; call it figurative language in metaphor or simile; call it description – call it what you will, but recognize what it is…just a moment in time, a snapshot, going nowhere, doing nothing – a picture. In the world of literature, one might enjoy such a picture, but the argument could be made that, for all the beauty of imagery, plot is king. Plot paints the wintery, windblown, desert highland the canvas for the character: the lone rider, gun over shoulder, blood dripping from one boot, face hard-set into the sunrise, a pillar of smoke at his back, family and home burning and dead – it puts description, into the journey of story – with somewhere behind and somewhere to go – plot gives picture meaning. As we consider again the season of Lent, with its vivid visuals and the fetid features of sin, one very important thing to keep in mind is plot. Not just to get stuck in the descriptors, but to see them in the plots unfolding. We’ll attend to a small portion of Luke’s account tonight in that way: that we Don’t Passover the Plots in Lent. Luke writes in chapter 22:1-6…
Following our theme should be no problem – as you heard, even the most casual ear catches plots galore in the picture Luke presents. But first, maybe how we got here – the backstory? In establishing a plot, usually an author employs exposition or background information about the setting, the characters, the plot itself. Luke’s section tonight brings us two parties: church leaders and one of Jesus’ disciples. The background to keep in mind in the plots of Lent is that neither of these parties was very happy with Jesus. Both had every reason to be happy – by their positions and connections, their closeness to him. The religious leaders, of all the people, knew the Word and promises of God – the plot God had plotted out – or they should have; they should have been able to recognize the fulfillment of God’s love in Jesus whom they hated. Likewise, Judas was, literally, “of the number of the twelve” – a disciple of Jesus. No one closer on earth to Jesus than them – but as it turned out for Judas, no one so far removed.
So back to those plots then. A good story always has rising action, conflict coursing through to the climax. A daily, customary action for those religious leaders flowed from their hate for Jesus. “Looking for some way to get rid of” him they were. If these religious leaders had daily planners, they might have read like this: “get groceries, feed dog, buy beef for sacrifice, get more beard-wax, brainstorm doing away with Jesus of Nazareth”. An ongoing thing – their office garbage cans were piled high...

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