Sunday, April 27, 2014

all dressed up -- no place to go

This morning I will take the pulpit at our church.

It is not a good mix.  My skills lean far more to teaching than to preaching.  At least, that is one of the distinctions I have always drawn between ministers, which I am not, and Christian educators, which I am.

I am not that certain of the distinction any more, though.  I recall that one of my favorite Salvation Army officers told our local newspaper, on his arrival in Salem, that his sermons would be in a teaching mode, rather than sermonizing.  And that is exactly what he did.

That memory was jostled to life as the result of an email I received from a fellow blogger, who related two different visit to Catholic churches in South America.  Both priests delivered their sermons at mass in a conversational tone.

I had been struggling all week putting this sermon together.  I knew what I wanted to say, but there was something wrong with the tone.  After reading the email, I diagnosed the problem immediately -- I was writing a sermon when I should be outlining a conversation.

And just as I was putting the final touches on the draft, I opened a mama's logbook, written by my friend and fellow church-goer, Alexa.  Her topic was a central theme in my sermon notes -- how we tend to worry about life when we start depending on our own resources.

On that point, Jesus was the wisest of teachers.  He understood full well how worry can debilitate us and keep us from finding the joy in our lives -- when worrying does nothing to change the situation.

And my sermon?  It is based on the tendency of some Christians -- often me --to mock Jesus by dressing him up in false royal regalia.  And to then negotiate a contract with God that we will have faith if He simply does everything we ask him to do.

If you are in town, stop by!  It would be nice to have a Sunday morning chat with you.

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