Yesterday I preached a sermon called "Removing the Roof," a part of which I had posted as a draft earlier in the week (you can listen to the podcast of that sermon here.) I was experimenting with a different way to construct a sermon. I invited people to reflect on the draft piece I posted, and a bunch of you did.
I appreciated all the comments; it deepened my thinking about the issues of commitment, boldness, and courage. And I can't stop thinking about this particular comment from Jessi Wicks:
As so often happens, reflecting on the story (of a paralyzed man being lowered through a roof into a home where Jesus was), was I the healer, being sought out by those in need? I'm more inclined to believe I was the cripple being lowered through the gaping hole in the roof. My church community opened that hole in the roof, lowered me down so I could be healed.I love this. I love the reality that a community of faith can hold, heal, and bless us in ways we can't even anticipate or imagine. Often, our job is simply to show up, be authentic, and open-hearted. When a faith community is alive with "gratitude, compassion, hospitality, forgiveness, and hope" (see postscript), and we're invited to truly live and embody those values, look out - the roof might come off, we might get healed, we might help heal.
If you're interested, the book I quoted from on Sunday in "Tattoos on the Heart," by Greg Boyle. It's a powerful, moving read. I highly recommend it.
I'll be experimenting with this sermon writing process again in the future. Thanks to all who commented!
PS: Phil Lund, Prairie Star District's Director of Faith Formation and Congregational Growth, recently gave a presentation to our staff and Board and shared the core values of "Gratitude, compassion, hospitality, forgiveness, and hope" as antidotes to the the driving forces of the consumer culture which are: "Greed, ego gratification, the need to be exclusive, guilt, and fear." I'll definitely be blogging more on this soon, but in the meantime, here's a piece that Phil pointed us to.
The church is in the world to lift up a different set of values, yes?!