Tuesday, October 25

Sermon October 23, 2005

Hey, y'all. This is the outline of my sermon from Sunday. If you would like to get a copy of the Mary Douglas article, let me know via e-mail. I would be more than happy to share it with you.

I know that outlines are sometimes vague to those who did not write them. So, if you have questions, please let me know in the comments section.
- Tripp

Proper 25, Revised Common Lectionary

Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler



Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

Psalm 1

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Matthew 22:34-46

Sermon Outline:

I. Sharing about sparring with Dad as a teen

a. “it isn’t appropriate”

b. “because I said so”

c. later these two statements will present two different frameworks to understanding Leviticus ala Mary Douglas

When I was a kid, especially during my teen years, my father and I fought. We fought a lot. Nothing of this was particularly unique mind you, but it is worth mentioning simply because of two of my father’s favorite arguments…at least how I remember them. These debates or arguments…

II. Deconstructing Leviticus

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

19:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

19:2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

19:15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.

19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

19:17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself.

19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

a. Language – share the Hebrew

אלהם קדשׁים תהיו כי קדושׁ אני יהוה אלהיכם׃

קדשׁ קדושׁ

qa^do^sh qa^do^sh

kaw-doshe', kaw-doshe'

From H6942; sacred (ceremonially or morally); (as noun) God (by eminence), an angel, a saint, a sanctuary: - holy (One), saint.

b. Take the ethos of qo-desh and apply it to the rest of the passage

This is the plural of holy… “holy ones”

There "holy" is plural. When paralleled with verse 18, we have the invitation to see our neighbors as holy. They are like us, like God, to be holy and we are to treat them as "holy ones."

The paralleling with "neighbor" is intentional. Our neighbors are holy ones...how do we treat the holy?


There an entire list of how we are to be with one another and all of this is tied to our identity with God. It is because we are God’s that we are to behave in such a way.

Who else is holy?

The poor.

The rich.

The children of our neighbors.

You own kin.

They are all listed. All are to be treated as "holy." Why? We are our Father's children. As God is Holy, all of creation is "holy." Through Christ, the Holy One of Israel, we are holy.

c. Using Douglas, show its’s context within the entire work

i. Both Leviticus ad umbers are solicitous that persons who are living among them but not related by birth to the people of Israel shall be included in/ the cult. Deuteronomy and Leviticus suggest this love of neighbor. – Mary Douglas

ii. How do we understand the nature of the word “unclean?” Who is being protected? This is like why we wear masks in the hospital. It is not simply to keep us safe from disease, but to keep the patient safe from us.

d. Historical placement

i. Philosophical arguments of the time…

ii. Editing of Leviticus took place, according to scholars, during the Exile in Babylon.

iii. There is influence and incorporation…all tools to greater understand and expand upon the revelation of God.

III. Parallel with Matthew

a. This is no more than a mentioning of what Jesus has done to this point, providing further explication to his indignation in the Temple itself.

b. Matthew’s focus is to a Jewish community…Jesus must remain a Jew. Thus, Christianity, in some ways, is nothing new, but a reminder of what is already in the Law.

IV. So, this is all about the Temple.

a. Who we are in worship is simply who we are.

b. Our language of worship, how we speak, posture, pray, how and with whom we come to the table is reflected by this understanding of Leviticus.

c. The Greek re-appropriation of “Agios” – Gentiles, too!

Ἅγιοι ἔσεσθε, ὅτι ἐγὼ ἅγιος, κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν.

This is the same from the LXX. The usual translation is offered. The plural is also used. We will see less use of this term in the New Testament simply because the Hellenistic culture has no word for the kind of holiness that is suggested. There is understandings of a different sort, but scholars speculate that this word is held for very specific and special circumstances to set it off.

i. How “agios” is used in the worship context

ii. Our Father: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·

iii. Sanctus: We sing it with the sanctus: when we join with angels and archangels: καὶ νυκτὸς λέγοντες· ἅγιος, ἅγιος, ἅγιος Κύριος

It has cultic significance.

It is associated with prayer and the coming Kingdom.

It is rooted in ethics…and being.

This will become the promise of Paul. This is what Jesus will suggest by stating that this is part of the great commandment.

For the New Testament, sanctification is implied.

Love and holiness go hand in hand. One cannot be holy with out love. One cannot forgive nor be forgiven without love/holiness for that matter.

Love leads to sanctification and is its sign.

Forgiveness is restoration to reality: The Kingdom of God. This is why we pray the word “holy” or “ἁγιασθήτω.”

d. Questions then arise.

i. Who am I really?

ii. Who, then, can come to the table if all are to be treated as if they are holy.

iii. For us, what is this ecumenical vision all about?

V. Conclusion: Back to the arguments with my father.

a. “It is not appropriate” may be suitable in the instruction of a child…especially a stubborn teen. But, it is not the purpose of Levitical code.

b. “Because I said so!” actually carries more of the purposed meaning.

i. We are spoken into being.

ii. The Word was with God.

iii. God’s “saying so” is why we exist at all.

iv. We love our neighbor because they too were spoken into existence. Even our Baptisms do not accomplish this. Our Baptisms are only the bare beginning of our realigning with the truth of Creation: That in the beginning God spoke all creation into being, breathing life into a formless void…We live because God said so.