Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The sermon I never preached...

I was checking out the documents in my computer and came across the sermon I never preached. I don't know what year it's from, though it must be recent since it mentions this blog. And I don't remember writing this and I thought I'd share it with you because it is so odd. I like odd, in case you haven't noticed...

Sermon not preached on July 8

I used a quote in my sermon last week from Saul Alinski. It is a quote that turns upside down and inside out our normal assumptions. What we say is: “seeing is believing”. What Saul Alinski said was, “When we believe it, we will see it....”

I write this blog where I ponder things that confound me. Last week I pondered things like this:
*how does the cat know I just cleaned his litter box?
*why do people wear headphones when walking on the canal that shut out the sounds of birds and bullfrogs and the wind in the trees and the sweet whisper of the water?
*how many words does my dog know?
*if Jesus were here, would he go to church?

That's the one that's really got me wondering. If Jesus were here, would he go to church?

So a call comes to the Pope's office. Some Cardinal answers it and says, “you're kidding! Oh goodness! Amazing!

The Pope asks who's calling and the Cardinal says, “your Holiness, there is good news and bad news.”

“Tell me the 'good news' first,” the Pope says.

“Jesus has come back!” the Cardinal tells him.

The Pope crosses himself and gives a prayer of great thanks. “So what could be the 'bad news'?” he asked.

The Cardinal held his hand over the phone: “He's calling collect from Salt Lake City....”

It would be weird to have Jesus in Church: If he were a reader he'd say, “The Word of Me” at the end of the lesson.

If he were receiving communion—we'd have to say, “Ah, your Body...This is, Ah, your blood.”

If Jesus came back, He wouldn't come to church to worship himself—that would give new meaning to “Narcissism”!

But if Jesus came back, I think he would come to church. Not for the worship, not for the Sacraments, not for the scriptures....but for two things....THE HYMNS and The COMMUNITY.
Today we heard about Paul's Beatific Vision. He claims it is a man he knew, but it is surely him. He was lifted (in his body or not; God knows) to the realm of heaven. And in that vision of paradise, he realizes “Power is made perfect in Weakness”. And he decides to 'boast' of his 'weakness' so God's Power can be made perfect.

In Mark's Gospel, Jesus can't find community in his home town. They 'don't see it, because they don't believe it'. He is too familiar to them. They know his family. How dare he claim to be something they know he isn't.

Community doesn't “happen”. We create it. And we create it out of our weakness...out of our failure to be a community. We will only 'see' it when 'we believe it'.

There is a story of a people who lived on the edge of the sea but never sailed it. But it came to them that there was 'A Beautiful Land' just across the sea, so they build an enormous ship and set sail from all they knew to find that “Beautiful Land”.

The problem was, they were a landed people and were terrible sailors. People kept falling overboard so the wondrous ship had to endlessly circle to pick up those who had fallen in the sea. Over and over they circled, over and over, to save those who had fallen into the sea.

And the miraculous thing was, that by circling endlessly to rescue their friends, they suddenly arrived at the 'Beautiful Land'.

That is what 'community' is all about. Endlessly circling to bring those who had fallen into the sea on board. Our weakness and our compassion are what bring us, unexpectedly, to the place we sat out to find.

That is why Jesus would come to church (besides the hymns!). To be a part of both our weakness and our compassion. To set sail with us. To share our journey. To come, at last, with us at the destination by merely circling and circling and circling to make sure we all get there together.....

Something to ponder, I think....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.