Monday, October 5, 2015

Speaking tenderly from my heart...

The time has finally come for me just to speak to my faith community from my heart. Writing
sermons - even in my old style that allowed for lots of spontaneity - is done. In whatever time I have left in this realm, I really need to reflect from my heart about how the gospel can change our lives if we are open to the Spirit. I sensed I should go there after returning from sabbatical but wimped-out last week. Oh well, no more.  People - my congregation included - don't need more ideas. Or fancy words. Or exciting religious rhetoric.

Peterson's reworking of Romans 14 in The Message is brilliant - and oh so clear:

Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently....What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’ssake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.

So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:
“As I live and breathe,” God says,
    “every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
    that I and only I am God.”
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.

In conversation with my staff today - and key lay leaders, too - they affirmed the call to simply speak to them clearly on Sunday mornings. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my soul.


Cricket said...

Amen, Brother!
Let your heart sing!

RJ said...

Thanks dear sister, thanks.

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