In writing sermons I try to pay attention to transitions, and so I confess that I have a quarrel with the cutting and pasting of Gospel texts for the 10th and 11th Sundays after Pentecost. The bridge passage that connects them (Luke 12:22-31), which is excised, is both a valuable commentary on what has gone before—Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions—and a preparation for what is to come—Seek the kingdom and these things will be given to you. I suggest backing up a few verses before reading this week’s Gospel lesson.
“Do not fear,” Jesus teaches his disciples, “it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Their fears are rooted in anxiety about daily survival, in contrast to the promise of God’s providence, recorded in the history of Israel (see Exod. 16). Jesus then commands the disciples to give generously to the poor.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).