This Sunday’s sermons come from the Lectionary’s Gospel lesson, which is taken from Luke, in fact Luke 14:25-33 (click here for the texts). The actual title of the sermons is “Hyperbole” and what I was attempting to do was to provide some guidance into how we interpret, or at least hear, the hyperbolic statements and stories; especially from Jesus.
Dealing with hyperbole is just one part of hermeneutics, which is the art and science of interpretation (in this case interpreting Scripture), and it is by no means the hardest part. We virtually always know when someone is engaging in hyperbole. When our parent / child / significant other says, “I have told you a million times . . .” we don’t think that they have counted the number of times we have been told and they don’t think we are going to discount what they say because of the discrepancy between 1,000,000 and the actual number. Hyperbole is just a way of getting attention, of making a statement or argument more colourful or compelling. The problem is when we do discount what is said because it is hyperbolic. When we respond to our parent / child / significant other with, “You have NOT told me a million times so what you say is patently false [or irrelevant or whatever] and as a consequence I am going to act as if you never spoke at all.” When we respond in that way, we have misunderstood the purpose of communication and what is more, it is usually a wilful misunderstanding.
The sermons below are all about how we grapple with hyperbole without taking it literally or discounting it out of hand.
Knox Presbyterian Hyperbole
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Hyperbole
I think I have figured out what was going on with the embedded links to the sermons. If anyone can’t make them go, please let me know in the comments and I’ll move on to the next round of trouble-shooting.