Sermon Text: Luke 10:25-37
Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest, professor, and theologian, is one of the United States’ best-known preachers. She tells of the time when she was a seminary student and spent four straight hours in the library with a ten-pound book written by the Swiss theologian Karl Barth. All I can say is that she was a more dedicated student than I ever was and she definitely had a greater appreciation of Barth than I did. Or, maybe, she was just following the professor’s orders. Regardless, she was definitely a more dedicated student than I was, because after all, you know you can get in eighteen holes of golf in four hours?! Nevertheless, she kept reading and rereading Barth’s chapter on the dual natures of Christ … “or something pithy like that,” she says.
But … she just couldn’t get it. So she kept biting her fingernails and drinking more black coffee until finally … on about the fifth time through … she got it … she really got it! Her hours of intensive study had finally paid off. “The only thing left to do,” she says, “was to go outside the library, walk onto the campus courtyard, and SCREAM.”
After her screaming fit, no doubt brought about by a convoluted sense of joy at having figured out the mind of Barth, not to mention too much caffeine … she remembers being surprised that the courtyard had not changed because of her newfound understanding. The trees were right where they had always been, the red brick buildings looked exactly like they had before. And she was disappointed. The world around her had not benefitted from her newfound knowledge. (Barbara Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 1993), pp. 114-115.)…Read full sermon here (PDF)