Hi all - last Sunday I used a few video/visual elements in church. I'm thankful for people like Gordon who take time to make things work! We had no tech problems - a wonderful feat given the fact that this was our first attempt. Aaron did an amazing job with the visual offertory. When we have it linked to the music I'll post it.
The bulk of my sermon centered on this clip from a concert that violinist Joshua Bell gave in a DC metro station a few years ago during rush hour. This article gave background information
I drew a metaphor between Bell showing up in an unexpected place/time to give a free, beautiful concert and God, showing up in unexpected places/times to give us peace, joy, inspiration and love.
I noted that in contrast to the obviousness of the Angel Gabriel's visit to Mary, most of us, most of the time, encounter God in less direct ways. God comes to us more like a busker in the metro than an angel who tells us our future.
5) God's presence sometimes captures people's attention by surprise (one man who had never appreciated classical music found himself transformed by just 3 minutes of listening).
4) God's presence is often ignored (most people (over 1000) passed by without pausing. Understandably, they all had to get to work and they didn't know they were in the presence of greatness).
3) When people start to notice God's presence, they inspire others. (One woman stopped because she recognized Bell. As she stood and watched, others naturally joined).
I first heard of this Bell concert at a conference. The speaker used it to point out that people no longer know how to recognize beauty. While that might be true, it strikes me as an unfair judgment. I think most people are just busy and stressed and too tired to notice the grace all around. We're a people in need of sabbath. So here are two final points:
2) Even in the craze of the days before Christmas, you do have time to stop and rest in God's presence.
1) Even if you don't take time to stop or notice, God is still there, playing on.
Wishing you peace and joy and a moment of obvious grace in these last days of Advent
- Pr Sarah