I hope this is my final draft. Well, I mean, is it ever really final?
Behold, the third draft of my sermon. Quite a few changes. My brain is utterly worn out at the moment. All I can say is that I had no idea how hard this would be. To all of you who have been so gracious to give me your responses and suggestions, I can’t thank you enough. I hope this shows you all that you can trust to give me your honest thoughts. I am willing to submit myself for molding and shaping by the word, and by all of you who serve it. It doesn’t not hurt, but this is the path that I’ve been called to, and the challenge that I’m finding myself being pulled toward.
In your responses, I find support and care. I just pray that I’m getting closer to at least a mediocre diagnosis, so that I don’t do a complete disservice to the Gospel. I hope my education will continue, because this really is hard stuff. There’s just no way to grow without your help. I know this lays out my shortcomings, but I hope it helps you to know where to find me and they ways I need to be shown toward.
Oh, one note – I’m just including the scripture reading here in my blog for reference, while reading my sermon.
Kind of a quick reflection this week, since I’ve been busy working on my upcoming sermon. Hopefully there are some provocative thoughts in here that might give you food for thought this week. Have a blessed Christmas!
Here’s draft number two. I did a little rearranging after reading part of The Homiletical Plot by Eugene Lowry. Using the opening story to more clearly illustrate the homiletical bind of the stress of waiting revealing our fears, which indicts our faithfulness. And moving from there into deeper diagnosis, clarified with the Henri Nouwen passage. Or at least, that’s the theory….
This post is a first draft of a sermon that I have the opportunity to preach in an upcoming worship service. I’m currently in the preaching class in the Diakonia program. I’d been thinking over the day’s Gospel reading for some days, and found that I ended up going in a different direction than I’d intended. What I think I’ve been learning so far is to let the living Word speak for itself, and speak through me. Not some kind of stump speech, or sales pitch, if I’m supposed to be a means of grace.
So, I guess, I can’t really have any idea how well I’ve done. Though I pray this amplifies the Gospel for whomever will hear it, and that it serves that purpose on the appointed day.
This week’s readings seem to have a lot to say about the meaning of “promise”. About having a long view of things. We’re always in need of hope. Present struggles. Wondering what the future holds. There are lots of “get rich quick” schemes, self-help books, and all sorts of things that offer us a promise, but how dependable is it? At what cost? Can we get there from here? They’re tempting because we want to see results now. What if real strength and serenity we seek, lie in something else?
St. John was born Juan de Yepes Alvarez, in Avila, Spain, in 1542. His family was one of the conversos – Jews, Muslims, or their descendents who converted to Catholicism during the 14th and 15th centuries, under pressure from the government. To better understand the culture of the time, the conversos endured suspicion and harassment from Christians and Jews, and were called renegades. Also, their lives were regulated to prevent their conversion back to their heritage religions, going so far as to even forbid dining with the unconverted. Though, while not treated with equality, conversos did span classes, and even held some offices of limited power.
Following Christ is like feast or famine. There are times when everything is quiet and still. Times when God’s face might even be hidden from you. Those dark nights of the soul make me think of an astronaut’s space walk. Inside your thick, padded, insulated suit, it’s just a simple tether that links you to your vessel. I bet you, the gloves are so thick that you can’t even feel that simple strap. Floating in space. Not feeling your tether. Of course you’re connected, but maybe with a strange sense of being on your own.
Or there are times when it’s all too much to bear. You hand yourself over to God for His use, and lo and behold, He takes you up on the offer! Maybe you’re in learning mode, and God sees to it that you have plenty of opportunities to learn. As in right now – let’s go!
As I tried to reflect on the scriptures this week, it was a pretty rough exercise for me. I don’t know if it’s just the challenge and mystery of Advent, but it was hard to figure out what was standing out to me in these readings. Kind of like being floating in space, not really feeling anything especially concrete or grounding. But my friend Linda recently shared with me about living under the Word. Kind of abstract, but yet, I’ve been learning over these months that it’s not so much about writing something fabulous, but really about dwelling within the Word. Spending time and thought to somehow walk with the scriptures, and finding that it really affects my worship, and my thoughts over the week. Anyway, hopefully you might find something interesting here….