Post preaching: I was quite sick while preaching this week. In hindsight, I should have called in pulpit supply. Let this be a lesson to any other preachers out there–take the rest day.
**The Sermon will contain a brief moment of sensitive content. Please use discretion for younger audiences or those with trauma history.**
Message Title: Don’t Trust the Narrator
Theme: Reruns & Glory Days
Season: Ordinary Time
Main Text: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
RCL Scripture: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 or 1 Kings 19:4-8 Psalm 34:1-8 or Psalm 130 Ephesians 4:25-5:2 John 6:35, 41-51
Focus: David lost perspective during his family drama.
Function: To repent of the places where we lost perspective and restore the connections we broke.
SCRIPTURE READING: Ephesians 4:25-5:2 25 Therefore, after you have gotten rid of lying, Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor[b] because we are parts of each other in the same body. 26 Be angry without sinning.[c] Don’t let the sun set on your anger. 27 Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil. 28 Thieves should no longer steal. Instead, they should go to work, using their hands to do good so that they will have something to share with whoever is in need. 29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. 30 Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. 32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ. Therefore, imitate God like dearly loved children. 2 Live your life with love, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. He was a sacrificial offering that smelled sweet to God.
RERUNS: We celebrated our graduates last week. Graduating high school is part of life—yet every generation has a handful of people who didn’t receive that privilege. My Grandpa Green didn’t graduate high school—instead, his parents sold him as an indentured servant to pay their debts. Grandpa Green ended up running away from his “master”. Grandpa Green’s story did not hold him back from his successes, he is every bit of a self-made man—even with his imperfections and blatant mistakes he provided for his family after starting out with less than nothing.
My great-grandfather’s story sounds quite different depending on who is telling the story. His parents could have easily justified their decision to sell their son—can we really judge people’s actions during desperate times?
The vantage point of a story is key to understanding the events which unfold before us. Yesterday, I posted a question asking if you didn’t read an assigned book. I’m proud to say that most of you were excellent students!
I have concrete memories of books I skipped, but even more so I remember of the stories I DID read. What stands out to me today are the short stories by Edgar Allan Poe with untrustworthy narrators.
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Do you have a book, movie, or show that you enjoy which includes an untrustworthy narrator?
- Beautiful mind – Can’t trust the narrator
- Inception –which is reality?
- Perks of being a wallflower – book and movie skewed towards main characters experiences & memories
- Life of Pi- book & movie
- Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
- Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
- Tell-tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe
TRANSITION: In our text for today, we will read the drama of David’s household. But who is the trustworthy one? Whose perspective is reliable? Has David lost his faculties?
MAIN TEXT: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 5The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, protect my boy Absalom.” All the troops heard what the king ordered regarding Absalom to all the commanders. 6So the troops marched into the field to meet the Israelites. The battle was fought in the Ephraim forest. 7The army of Israel was defeated there by David’s soldiers. A great slaughter of twenty thousand men took place that day. 8The battle spread out over the entire countryside, and the forest devoured more soldiers than the sword that day. 9Absalom came upon some of David’s men. Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the tangled branches of a large oak tree. Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair while the mule under him kept on going.…15Then ten young armor-bearers of Joab surrounded Absalom, struck him, and killed him.…31Then the Cushite arrived and said, “My master the king: Listen to this good news! The Lord has vindicated you this day against the power of all who rose up against you.” 32The king said to the Cushite, “Is my boy Absalom okay?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my master the king and all who rise up against you to hurt you end up like that young man.” 33The king trembled. He went up to the room over the gate and cried. As he went, he said, “Oh, my son Absalom! Oh, my son! My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Oh, Absalom, my son! My son!”
- Last week we heard the 2nd part of the David & Bathsheba story where David received consequences and those consequences spilled onto Bathsheba.
- Directly after that story, David’s son Amnon—behaves like his father with one of his half-sisters, Tamar. (Not to be confused with Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah/wife of Judah).
- 2 Sam 13:21 – David did not punish Amnon for his actions
- Tamar’s full blood brother Absalom defends her honor by killing Amnon and then rebelling against his father, David.
- The story of justice was skewed into a twisted mess between David, his sons, and his general Joab.
- 2 Sam 13:21 – David did not punish Amnon for his actions
- Summarize the text:
- The feud between David and Absalom has grown for multiple chapters- Joab, David’s General, stirs the family drama pot.
- David gives instructions to his generals to not kill his son but bring him back alive.
- Joab disregards this instruction and kills Absalom, then buries his body in the forest.
- Two different messengers are sent to tell David of his son’s death.
- One of the messengers lies
- David weeps for his son—a traitor of the state
- Keep reading—David shames his army for their success because they killed his son, a traitor.
- David isn’t a great dad. He doesn’t treat women well either.
- Sure, he never worships other gods. But he sins in other ways.
- We have painted him as a great guy—but that is much like the “Good Ole Days” lens—rose colored glasses so to speak.
- Last week, we practiced confession before taking communion—
- I want us to consider the practice of repentance.
- Repentance isn’t just saying “I’m sorry” – repentance is changing your behavior.
- The church has lost her way—we focus so much on defending certain tenants of faith above the message of God’s love through Jesus.
- Division in David’s household
- Division in the church
- Division in the country