Welcome back everyone!
I say that because it’s been a bit lonely the last few days, and I’m narcisisstic enough to assume today is your grand return. Sunday was slim, as I’m sure it was in many of your churches. The last few days have been lonely in blog-town too. You were all probably spending your weekends at The Lake. I know this, because the only people who have made their presence known to me the last few days were not at The Lake, they were taking breaks from their honey-do lists! I never knew what it was like to skip church to go to ‘The Lake’ because I’m a preacher’s kid, and we of the P.K. club know nothing of Lakes or season tickets or other such means of ‘alternative venues of worship.’
Well I don’t know who gave you permission to go to The Lake and miss out on all the award winning* blogs that were written over the weekend, but you’ve got some make-up reading, my friend. So get comfortable, make sure it looks like you’re working, and do something important: read some blogs.
On Sunday, I preached about Jesus healing a man with a shriveled hand, or some such thing. Snore. God only knows what kind of drivel I said, because no one was really listening, because no one was really there. Well I really blew it. I missed a golden opportunity. If I had known (which I should have) that I’d be talking to myself in church, that message would have looked a whole lot different. A whole lot different…
Sermons I Should Have Preached
Deuteronomy 23:1: He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Look, churches are suffering because they have such low requirements for membership. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. If the line isn’t here, then who else will you let into church? Hippies? Democrats? Guys who wear sandals in winter? We have to stand up and say ‘this is the line,’ you have to meet these requirements to be in fellowship with us. For some churches, you have to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. For us, the line is if you’ve been kicked in the crotch more than five times, or comically fallen onto an outdoor stair railing more than three times, we’re just not sure you’re our kind of guy. But there’s a Unitarian church down the street that will probably take you.
Genesis 38:8-10: Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.
We were told in our public school sex ed that this wasn’t a viable means of birth control. You’re also at risk for numerous venerial diseases, plus there’s the risk of getting smitten by God. Abstinence is the only way, kids, the only way to prevent being smitten. God can see what you’re doing in that car. If we don’t warn our kids, who will?
Judges 3:21-22: And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out.
The Bible is certainly an earthy book. So many rich textures. If you are a king, and you are entertaining a foreign dignitary, it is so important to get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and put on clean underwear, just like Mom always told you to. You just don’t know how your day is going to go.
2 Kings 2:23-24: From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!” He turned around, and looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
Those were the days. You ‘eff with God, you get mauled. Short and sweet. That used to be all there was to preach about! If I were Elisha, I’d have sent two ninjas to maul the youths. Elisha just stays all quiet and whispers a curse under his breath and leaves. But then the music changes, and these two ninjas jump out of the bushes and flip out on everyone! These days, God has so many people He needs to sick bears on, and the bear habitats are so threatened, you sometimes have to wait months after the fact for your mauling.
Next Memorial Day weekend, just wait. The three of you who show up to church are going to get a sermon to remember.
Have you ever heard sermons on these verses? What would you name the sermon for one of these verses? What’s the most obscure Bible passage you’ve ever heard a sermon on?