Christian sermons characteristically result from the interaction of a biblical text and the social and cultural contexts in which the sermon is created and into which it is spoken. In this regard, biblical texts are understood not as containers of unchanging truth but as fields of meaning capable of yielding different insights in each new context, and sermons constitute oral performances of these insights. As a test case, American Christian sermons based upon the so-called fifth commandment (“Honor your father and your mother …”) were examined from two time periods: 1960–1980 and 2000–present. In the earlier period, a time of anxiety about changing norms of social authority, the sermons typically presented the fifth commandment as addressed to young children, calling them to obey their parents. In the later period, a time when the large baby boomer generation is increasingly assuming care for aging parents, the sermons typically presented the fifth commandment as addressed not to youth but rather to adults charged with the responsibility to care for the elderly. While understanding the fifth commandment as addressed to adult children is probably closer to the original meaning of the text, both audiences for the commandment (adult children and youthful children) are within the field of meaning of the text and, indeed, both understandings find expression elsewhere in scripture.