Last Sunday’s family conflict story in Genesis 25 offers preachers an opportunity to talk about family conflict in their own communities. This is risky business for preachers. As they gaze out on worshipers and prepare to begin a sermon, they know—and see—individuals who are currently embroiled in a family dispute or who have been scarred by a family battle.
In this Sunday’s epistle reading, Paul’s use of the word “adoption” offers preachers an opportunity to discuss how children become part of families. Again, this is risky business. Pastors know that the mere mention of the word “adoption” or “childbirth” will cause many in the congregation to recall their own infertility problems, adoptions, loss of children or parents. But reckoning with the genuine depths of God’s grace compels us to speak a word of hope.