Someone recently mentioned to me that it would be interesting to get an inside look at the sermon writing process. So here you go.
I'm sitting at a coffee shop working through my sermon notes for this weekend trying to see what's emerging as the sermon. I've been reading and studying the texts and now have a full plate of ideas.
I've got many thoughts, most of which won't make it in there. I'm pulled in two directions.
One half of me wants to pick up on the theme of faith from the passage from Hebrews: "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful." As this is confirmation Sunday and our confirmation students have prepared their faith statements, it seems a good time to talk about faith - especially maturing in faith and being faithful in the midst of a community.
The other half of me is drawn to the image of the temple's destruction foretold in the gospel, Mark 13. In this gospel lesson, Jesus sits with some of his disciples and tells them about some events that will accompany the destruction of the temple. Jesus indicates that not only will the temple be destroyed but the whole world will start to end...The beginning of the birth pangs. The disciples are instructed to stay faithful.
In the background for me are images of the fall of the Berlin Wall and a story of Lutheran peace vigilantes who for years gathered weekly to make their desire for a united Berlin known.
Also in the background is the shooting at Ft Hood. How I wished that the shooter wasn't Muslim. I wished his name was something like Erik Johnson. Would have made it no less tragic, but a bit less complicated. Now, again, Islam is the easy excuse for all that is wrong with the United States. It seems like a good time to remind ourselves that Christianity too, throughout human history, bears its share of war crimes and senseless violence.
I have sympathy for those many Muslims for whom this even puts them in an even worse national light than before. This has to be a hard time to be Muslim in America.
What does this event say about the way this war has stressed so many veterans and soldiers. Is there some responsibility we have as Christians and as Americans to be good stewards of our own people? Clearly this shooting indicates a major breach. A military stretched too thin.
How do I speak to this set of sympathies with a strong faith and honor those who died and those who serve in the military. How are we as Christians called to be compassionate to all who have suffered (including our Muslim brothers and sisters) as a result of this shooting?
These are some of my thoughts as I face the writing process. PoP members reading this, expect some of this to show up tomorrow and Sun morn at 8:30; but if I were you, I'd hold out for the 11:00 service where 5 confirmation students will deliver their faith statements.
Peace - Pr Sarah
In peace - Pr Sarah