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In The New Christians, I wrote a section chastising liberals for censoring the Bible in the Revised Common Lectionary. Although liberals often criticize conservatives for cherrypicking Bible verses, liberals do just the same thing when they leave verses out of what they preach on Sunday (a practice that one doesn’t find with evangelicals). I wrote,
…A beautiful and provocative Psalm, to be sure, and a reading that’s slated for one of the most important days in the church calendar, Pentecost, in all three years of the lectionary cycle. But strangely, the lectionary calls for this reading: “Psalm 104:24-34, 35b.” In other words, the preacher is instructed to excise the line, “But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.”
This happens over and over in the lectionary: Sunday morning Bible readings are purged of their unsavory–some might say “politically incorrect”–content. This dubious practice raises the obvious question: How does it serve the faithful who sit in congregations across America? The answer: it doesn’t. Instead, this practice is an injustice both to the Bible and to those who place their trust in the Bible’s words. It assumes that average Christians can’t handle all that the Bible has to offer, or worse, that preachers can’t manage the prickly parts of the text.
Well, it seems that at least one preacher feels the same way that I do.
Lutheran pastor, author, troublemaker (and Christianity21 Voice) Nadia Bolz-Weber preached Sunday week from the lectionary. The Sunday was Easter 7b, if you’re scoring at home, and she decided to preach about the three verses that were nixed from the passage in question. They happened to be about Judas, his purchase of a field, and his guts gushing out. Here’s Nadia:
See, there was no Easter for Judas. There was no resurrection. There
was no light shining which the darkness could not overcome. There was
no experience of the risen Christ for Judas. He never got to be filled
with joy and disbelief like those in the upper room. He never got to
stick his fingers in the resurrected wounds of God. He never got to
eat sacramental broiled fish on a beach. Judas did not get to
experience the defeat of sin and death revealed in the breaking of the
bread. He chose death before seeing that death was done for. Our
brother Judas. Was what he did beyond forgiveness?
O, would that more preachers preached the whole Bible.