It’s a Sabbath Day, and the air is cool. I was just watching a spectacular sky, translucent clouds moving in opposite directions against the blue. I can’t really say why I haven’t been blogging lately. Blame the workload, I suppose. It’s big these days, my experiment in scheduling still very much on track. 8 hours a day of writing: a screenplay for Leaving Ruin, a new folk musical for Christmas (called Winterland), an occasional look at another story for a fellow in the midwest, brooding over what to do with Hunting Grace, preparing to preach three sermons at the Northwest Church of Christ/Christian Church in Shoreline.
Preach three sermons? Yeah, it brings me up short, too. I’ve been asked on a couple of occasions to preach here and there, and it’s always an adventure. I spoke once last month, and I did the “let me give you a taste of the Christian artist’s experience” thing, and it was fine, but in the end, I felt like I’d let an opportunity slip by. About a week after that, I was fortunate enough to get to experience Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit, and as I always do at these things, I sit and consider leadership and how it interacts with artistry. Bill Hybels always makes me consider the role of the local church in the world, and my role in the work of the local church. Hybels believes “the local church is the hope of the world.” When he says it, it rings true. What is more fundamental to living that our relationship to God (or not) and our relationship to the community we’re a part of. Where else will we learn of love, peace, forgiveness, and grace? I know the church doesn’t have the market cornered on any of those things…in fact, we are often poor reps of God in all areas of the “fruit of the Spirit.” But still, if we believe in the story delivered to us in scripture, what other conclusion can we come to than “the local church is the hope of the world?” Anyway, the message that got me thinking was, “Whatever You Do, Inspire Me.” Vision is one of the deepest needs any of us have, and one of the things on my mind as I prep for the upcoming time in the pulpit is the need for vision and inspiration. Not rah-rah stuff (I’ve seen my share of that), but vision that grows of out deep conviction concerning the reality of God and the times in which we live.
So what I am going to preach about? I always thought I would do art and faith sorts of things, but just now I’m thinking diving into deeper waters. The word “Holy” has entered my consciousness in the past few weeks, in what I consider to be a fairly direct answer to prayer. That’s led to considerations of the relationship of holiness to love and our changing view of God as move through scripture, revealed first by the “I AM” of the OT, then the Christ of the gospels, and finally the Holy Spirit of the early church. For me, there is a story to be told about the movement of God into the world, a story of power and life drawing every nearer to the heart of the human being, and I think it’s that story I want to tackle in this series of talks.
Anyway, the dates are September 9, 16 and 23. I’m looking forward to it, but wondering what God has in mind during these early days of fall.
4 Replies to “Preaching Soon”
After the greeting and before the preaching will you pray aloud?
Do you have any thoughts on public prayer? A few years ago I attended some Korean services and they have a quite moving ‘unison prayer’ in which the whole congregation prays aloud, their own prayers, so that the sanctuary seems to erupt.
I’m a little sorry I won’t be around to hear the sermons. I appreciated your earlier thoughts. I have often found that actors and polished public speakers don’t always make the best preachers. It reminds me of a story I heard:
A renowned actor was asked to do an oral interpretation of scripture at a spiritual summit. He used all of his vocal and oratorical skill to make the piece moving and beautiful. When he was done, everyone thought it wonderful. Later in the evening an older preacher also stood to share. In a quiet and frail voice he recited the 23rd Psalm. The gathered throng was spellbound. But this man had not the training or the skill of the actor. Asked to comment afterward, the actor replied simply, “the words had power because you knew he knew the Shepherd.”
Listen to the Shepherd and you’ll be fine.