Sheep and Goats — A Timely Sermon


Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats is not what it seems. It is not a crystal ball, an early peek into the end of time and history. A arable is an act of imagination that draws listeners into the substance of the story. It invites us to see life differently; it brings us up short. In his sermon “Sheep and Goats,” Adam Fronczek, Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, interprets the parable for today.

A Sermon: Sheep and Goats

“First They Came …” — Martin Niemoller during Nazi reign of terror

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Martin Niemoeler, German pastor

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, November 29, 2020.

Verse – Christmas Re-Imagined

INTRO: How strangely idyllic Jesus’s birth appears in Matthew. No mention of the absence of a midwife, stench, or unsanitary conditions. The animals were the only neighbors, including the goats and sheep of Matthew’s parable of the Last Judgment, and as I have re-imagined it, the serpent who would bruise humanity’s heel in Genesis 3:8-15.

All the midwives were busy that night
when goats and sheep butted and
bleated for a taste of the after-birth
while a hapless not-quiet-husband
knelt beside his not-yet-wife Mary,
confused by having to birth this
child of another he’d never met,
a lamb she said was meant to be
for reasons he could not feel or see.

No Star Wars star shone above
a forgotten place the three of them
shared with none but bulls and
cows, hens and roosters, a snake
slithering through the straw toward
the donkey’s heel, the goats on
his right, the sheep on his left,
before the angels said the baby’d
come to bruise the serpent’s head.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 27, 2015