Pentecost +7 - Year C
I was almost appointed to a half-time pastorate in a self-described "conservative" congregation. Back when that seemed to be the case I had begun thinking about this week's lections as the texts for a first sermon.
Knowing there was going to be testing going on in that setting, as well as in the intro to this passage, I was glad to note the double commandment that would speak to this congregation's piety with "loving G*D" and their local mission emphasis with "loving neighbor".
I was less glad to have to also note those troublesome issues of "loving self" and a congregation being an inn for all manner of wounded folk where we would have to be with them, rubbing shoulders and building new stories, without a guarantee that a first downpayment by Jesus in a Samaritan guise would be sufficient over a long-haul and we would need reliance upon mercy beyond our current loving limits. These "also-noted" would begin pushing at needed growth areas of how we live beyond categories and stereotypes and an investigation of how these more difficult aspects fit with a pride of being "conservative". And, whereas pushing engenders push-back, questions of degree of a new revelation that it might be glimpsed and choice of examples would take more intentional care than would later come more easily.
If I could carry a tune I would sing Song of Bernadette for occasions such as this.
Blessings on seeing your congregation, family, job, etc., as a Mercy Inn franchise.