A Sermon by Elaine Breckenridge
August 28, 2011, Proper 17A 2011
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.08.31 EHB
“Satan get behind me!” I am reminded of the little boy who developed the terrible habit of climbing through a hole in the fence to play in his next door neighbor’s yard. The child was told to stay in his own yard, but you know the neighbor’s yard was just more interesting. Finally the mother said, “Son, the next time you are tempted to disobey me by going into that yard, I want you to say, Satan get behind me!” About an hour later the mother went outside and found her son playing in the neighbor’s yard. Dragging him home, she sat him down in the kitchen and said, “Son, didn’t I tell you what to say when you were tempted to go next door?” “Yes, Mother. I was standing near the hole in the fence, and I so, said, ‘Satan get behind me.’ He did. And he pushed me through the hole into the yard.”
Well, that’s about all I am going to say about this morning’s reading from Matthew. Today, I am departing from my usual practice of preaching on the Gospel. I am turning aside from Satan, Peter, Jesus and the cross to instead join Moses in the desert. Together, let us contemplate the mystery of the burning bush.
This morning’s first reading, the call of Moses is a favorite of mine. And over the years I have tried staging it. Once, during the sermon, I invited all the children to take off their shoes because they were on holy ground. They remained barefoot throughout the whole service, including coming to communion. The children and the adventurous loved it– others not so much. So the next year I made a visual display of the burning bush which sadly caught on fire in the middle of the service. Now that I am older and perhaps wiser, this morning, I shall simply read from a children’s story.