If there is one theological concept that is really hard for me to wrap my head around, it’s this concept of God’s radical love for humanity. More than humanity…God’s radical love for ME. Mind you, this is something I teach about all the time. Recently, I even preached about it. But that sermon definitely became one of those, “as I’m preaching it, I’m being convicted” kinds of sermons. In the back of my mind as I was saying these things I was thinking, “what if I really let this stuff change me? What if I honestly held nothing back and stepped fully into what I’m laying out for people here…what then?”
This tension lives within me, of both believing and struggling to believe this concept of God’s love. I can confidently say that there’s something really significant in this central understanding of God’s character. I can also confidently say I don’t really understand it…it’s all fairly abstract to me…and I’m fairly sure I don’t always live it well.
It’s been a while, but I finally got my Maundy Thursday sermon added. Looking back at this sermon, I don’t know if I got it right or not. You’ll remember that April 2 was Maundy Thursday, but was also the day of the shootings in Garissa, Kenya. I spent the day holed up in a coffee shop working on this sermon, fairly oblivious to the events going on in a country I love dearly. As I wound down my sermon-writing, I saw the Facebook posts hinting at the terror, and I got some texts from close friends checking on my spirit.
My response? “I can’t think about this now…I’m in sermon-writing mode.”
Continue reading A Maundy Thursday Sermon
At a Deaconess Board Retreat, this question was posed:
“Think of one person in your context…what is that person teaching you?”
The first person who came to mind for me was a 4 yr. old in my congregation. When she’s there on a Sunday morning, this little girl sits with her parents until the children’s sermon. When it’s time for the children’s sermon, she runs up and sits directly next to the pastor on the steps of the altar space. She listens intently to the children’s sermon, with her own stream of comments and questions that show she’s thinking…sometimes about what the pastor is talking about. At the end of the children’s sermon, the pastor says, “if you are age 3-grade 5, you can follow Sr. Michelle to KidsTown.” I start walking down the aisle, and as I get to the baptismal font near the entrance to the sanctuary, almost every week I hear this voice calling out, “Michelle! Wait for me!” I turn around and see this 4 yr. old running down the aisle, passing the other kids to get to the front of the line, where she slips her hand into mine and says, “I’m coming to KidsTown today.”
So what is this 4 yr. old teaching me about my call, about my ministry, or about what God is saying to me at this time?
Continue reading What is she teaching you?