Saturday, November 17, 2007
Still the Future is Largely Unknown: the 11th Hour Preaching Party
We live in a fractured, fractious, and rapidly changing world. Now, as in ages past, the future is largely unknown. We yearn for this to be otherwise. We want certainty, time tables, and exact details.
Life does not work that way...(sigh)...
Still, we do not need to be victims of our fear. We can deflate the potency of chance and "fate" by looking carefully at our suffering and the suffering of the world. When we examine suffering we will find, in a history of people living though it, courage and creativity. Living through our suffering takes endurance and faith.
As we near the end of the Gospel of Luke we find these "apocalyptic predictions" of Jesus warning the disciples that they will suffer. We are coming once again to the days before the crucifixion. We are near the completion of the liturgical cycle, just a few short weeks before we start again at the beginning. Advent beckons us. But first...
In these revelations Jesus says to the followers, in essence, "they will suffer." In a violent dark night of the soul their way of thinking and acting will die. Then, by the grace of God, a new way will burn through in the morning light. In the meantime the followers are are invited into the transcendent love of God, which holds them. (Influenced by John Shea, "The Relentless Widow: The Spiritual Wisdom of the Gospels for Christian Preachers and Teachers.")
As you ponder the scripture for this Sunday are you feeling like the future is largely unknown? Are you praying about what to say and how to unpack Luke 21:5-19? Or are you considering Isaiah 65:17-25. Or perhaps Malachi 4:102a? Maybe you hear something in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 that speaks to your congregation? Or perhaps you are going with Psalm 98, "Sing to the Lord a new song?" How are the readings speaking to you about change and hope for new life? About fear and the possibility of something new? About being held in the love of God? About spiritual grounding in turbulent times. What else do you hear in these readings, or the other readings you are preaching on?
We stand ready to pray, think, ponder, cry, scream (if necessary) and laugh together. It's a party! I have fresh, Fair Trade coffee, a pot of water for tea, and all kinds of goodies. Welcome to the preacher party. What may I get you?