Monday, April 22, 2013

Preacher's Study - 5 Easter

Monday morning in the Preacher's Study

First thoughts about next Sunday's sermon (5 Easter Year C)
Todd Townshend


After the events of last week, especially in Boston, a comment could be made about the relationship between Monday’s “thoughts” and Sunday’s sermon. 

This blog is called “Monday morning in the Preacher's Study: first thoughts about next Sunday's sermon”, in part, so that preachers might be inspired to get their prayers, hearts, and minds going early in the week—so that we will begin to listen to the RCL scriptural texts six days before they are proclaimed in worship.

However, if a (North American) preacher actually completed his or her sermon preparation before 2:00 pm EDT on Monday last week, the sermon would almost certainly need to be re-written or significantly adjusted. At 2:49 pm EDT two bombs exploded, 13 seconds apart, on Boylston Street, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon—killing three people and injuring 183 others. These are some of the particulars of the event, and particulars change sermons. Generalized, “universal-truth” sermons are becoming less and less valuable to those who seek faith. Why the truth of Jesus Christ matters right now, this week, in the middle of this mess—that is what we want to know when the preacher stands to speak.

Nothing new here.  Events change sermons and sermons can change events.  It is really important that Christians, led by their preachers, respond to and interpret both the chaos and the beauty surrounding us. It is also important to say why—why we respond this way, why we see things this way. What can we believe about God in the face of this? Please!

I suspect that there were thousands and thousands of beautiful responses in the preaching yesterday. And for anyone who missed the opportunity, I suggest that this coming Sunday is not too late. Perhaps it is a chance to wrestle with this one: from Revelation. How does this vision make the difference, preacher?

"See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

 And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

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