by Kenneth C. Kroohs

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:8-14; Romans 7:21-8:6; Matthew 11:25-30
July 04, 1999

Have you ever read something, maybe a devotional, and just been hit by what it says? The words are right on target for what you needed to hear. And then, you go back later to re-read what was so powerful and find out it did not say what you thought it said! You got a powerful message, but you are not sure from where.

That happened to me as I thought about this sermon. One of the journals I read included a short meditation about preaching and I thought it said something like: "when you feel a lot of uneasiness preaching about a subject, you probably don't understand why you are uncomfortable." Now I cannot even remember what it really said! But the message I heard was very appropriate and important since July 4th is the only Sunday all year that I do not want to preach. And, based on that advice, I went back to reconsider why I don't want to preach and discovered that my assumptions were wrong. I had assumed that the reason I did not want to preach is because July 4th raises, along side the pride and celebration, several difficult and disturbing issues and I did not want to make you uncomfortable by talking about them. What I discovered was that July 4th raises several difficult and disturbing issues that I did not want to face. I did not want to consider how those issues affect my life.

Unfortunately we don't use a separate set of lectionary readings for July 4th. There are such readings listed, but they are not to be used for a principal Sunday service. I think I understand why that is so, but it is unfortunate because there are at least two gospel readings which are perfect. The first one comes from Luke 12 and would provide the conclusion for a typical July 4th sermon. Most such sermons take the "blessings" approach. And this is very appropriate, very instructional, very inspiring. I have used it and feel ...

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