St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Sermon For Sunday the 17th of June, 2007

Father Hadley's sermon for Sunday June 17, 2007:

Sermon for third Sunday after Pentecost
June 17, 2007
St. James’, Goshen IN
Arthur Hadley

From the Gospel according to Luke we just heard a story about Jesus going to the home of a Pharisee for dinner. In those days people walked in the dirty dusty streets along with the donkeys, oxen, and even camels. So even though guests would leave home all cleaned up for dinner, by the time they walked to the host’s home the feet were not too clean. The host usually provided a servant or child to wash the feet of the guests. In those dirty, dusty, animal shared streets were lots of other folks - beggars, pick pockets, soldiers, and women trying to make a living in a world where women rarely owned anything. As children women were wards of the their father, as wives they were property of their husbands, as widows they were wards of their sons. If there was no father, husband, or son, good luck maybe a brother, brother in law or uncle would take the widow in as a servant. Other wise it was the street to beg or to bed.

Jesus is at dinner in the Pharisee’s home, stretched out on a couch on his left side leaving his right hand able to reach the table. A person on the right side was the honored guest, the person on you left side could talk to you, but not really see your best side. The host was on the other side of the table. The Pharisee host saw a women of the street come in to the dining area…she had to be allowed in, servants had to know from the host to allow a street women into the house. Maybe she came often? But the host knew what kind of women she was. And the host thought: If Jesus is a real prophet he would know what kind of women was behind him washing and kissing his feet. The test of a prophet.

So Jesus was not just at a nice dinner party. He was there to be tested.
And Jesus tested the host and gave him a failing grade. As a good host you should have washed my feet, or had a servant wash my feet when I entered you house. But you did not. As a good host you should have greeted me with a kiss of peace, but you did not. This woman of the street is a better host than you are. She has washed my feet with her tears and kissed my feet. Her sins may be many but she knows how to love. Her sins are forgiven.

Sins are forgiven, even the woman of the street, the lowest of the lowly.

Now look at the Old Testament lesson. The mighty King David and the beautiful Bathsheba have committed adultery, and King David sent Bathsheba’s husband off into battle to be killed in order that David might marry Bathsheba. The prophet calls attention to the sin and asked King David what should be done. The punishment for the sin is visited upon the child of King David and Bathsheba. The child dies for the sins of the parents. God in the Old Testament is seen as a vengeful punishing ruler Sinfulness is punished. The punishment may be immediate or delayed The punishment may fall on the sinner or the children or later generations. Be Good or else God will punish.

In the New Testament the Son of God died for the sins of the whole world. Sins are forgiven.

We do not live in the Old Testament. We live in the New Creation.

Sins are forgiven. Women and Children are not property. All persons: Jews / gentiles, men / women, slave / free are all Joint Heirs With Christ in the Resurrection.

Thanks Be to God.

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