Occasionally I come across a passage of Scripture that I can’t preach. Well it’s not that I couldn’t preach it. That’s not the problem. It’s that preaching the text would rob it of its power. Parables are a good example of that. Jesus often left them intentionally cryptic. Why would we try to rob them of their cryptic nature by converting it into three points and a poem? It would do injustice to the text. A sermon should always reflect the rhetorical force of the text.
So rather than preaching texts such as these, what can you do? In some cases, you can tell a story. Rewrite the story in your own words, expand upon it, use your holy imagination. It can be a slippery slope…but it can also be very effective and meaningful.
This Sunday, we are faced with one of these texts: the death of Moses. I found myself so moved by that story that I couldn’t bear to turn it into a sermon. What’s interesting is that for centuries people have attempted to recreate the tale, filling in the gaps and imagining what may have happened. What happened on that mountain in the moments before and after his death?
And that is what we will be imagining together this Sunday. I hope you can join us.
Photo credit by maik_sv.