The Preacher's Task

Just as I break the bread of the Eucharist each Sunday, so is it my task to break open the bread of the Word. It was St. Augustine who said that the liturgy feeds us from two tables: the table of the Word and the table of the Sacrament.

In breaking open the Word it's my task to nourish our assembly with both comfort and challenge. It has been said that the scriptures are intended to "comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable." Like all easy divisions of the world into two halves, that saying is incomplete even as it makes a point worth pondering.

In this week's scriptures, Jeremiah (the prophet, not the bullfrog) gets into trouble for afflicting the comfortable. I'd like to tell you that by comparison the Jesus in this Sunday's gospel brings comfort to the afflicted, but this week Jesus has a hard hat on and he comes out swinging a sledgehammer!

This is one of those week's when the preacher's job isn't easy. I don't own a hard hat and I've got very little experience with heavy tools. Pray for me and for all who break open the Word this week that we'll be both faithful to our task and nourishing of our people.

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