Jesus conversed with tax collectors late at night, he visited the homes of those that the religious called “sinners,” and around a table on the night he was betrayed he broke bread and poured wine while declaring, “This is me, for you.” Sharing at Jesus’ common table reminds us that God sustains everything, includes everyone, and is drawing us all together to feast as one. This sermon series therefore intends to elevate our Christian vision of hospitality by pondering ancient stories that cast anti-hospitality and hospitality narratives. Our hope is that these stories awaken in us divine love that facilitates a way of living that recognizes God’s sustenance, makes room for others, and urges us toward generosity and self-giving.
Sermons at Pearl seek to engage the ancient stories, poems, and letters in the Bible through imaginative oration that rouses our wholeness as human beings. The act of the sermon at Pearl is space to ponder the sacred, opportunity to consider the mystery and love of God, and provocation to slow down, to think deeply, and to be stirred and inspired to bountifully live.
In Epiphany the church basks in the light of Christ revealed to us. Yet simultaneously we live in a world divided by difference, riven by power structures that alienate and marginalize. To our surprise, the light of God shines upon us from the other, as God listens attentively to the voice of cries from the wilderness. In showing his mercy to the oppressed, God is revealed to them in ways the powerful do not know, so that our salvation is wrapped up into listening to their voices.
This sermon series situates us as attentive listeners to theological voices that cry out from the wildernesses of oppression and injustice in our society. After laying a theological groundwork for attentive, non-reactive listening to marginal experiences of God, we will train our attention on three voices that are too often diminished at the table in American Christianity. Across the power-divide of race, we will hear the witness of black theology to the God who liberates. Across the power-divide of gender, we will hear from feminist and queer theologians who witness to the God who overcomes binaries. And across the power-divide of class, we will listen to Latin American theologians who discover the preference of God for the poor.