Preacher, you hurriedly rewrite your sermon, your heart breaking yet one more time.
Frantic fingers desperately seeking to follow as the Spirit guides.
The temptation is Real. The allure is real to let God’s prophetic Word be watered-down, diminished, altered, made more palatable all because of fear. Fear of loss. Fear of diminished influenced. Fear of accusation of preaching politics instead of preaching Jesus.
Take courage, Preacher. You do not stand in the midst of your people alone. You stand with God present, the great cloud of witnesses supporting you–Martin, Theresa, Dietrich, William, Harry, Frances, Mary… and countless others who preached such a word in their time.
Tomorrow, stand among God’s precious people and offer hope, not some cheap-grace-infused imitation of hope that reinforces status-quo or leaves us with a thin, shiny veneer or would-be happy.
Give people the hope they seek that only comes from Jesus.
Give people Jesus–the Jesus who calls us into the Light that casts out Darkness, the Jesus who draws all to him, the Jesus who calls us to live in his example, the Jesus who calls us to recognize God’s image present in all.
Yes. Do call us to confession.
Help us, Preacher, understand and feel God’s call to stand up and say “no more” to hatred, injustice, and oppression.
Call them what they are–sin.
Call out our complicity, individually and collectively, in this sin.
Help us to hear the invitation from Jesus to us, anew, to seek the present of God’s renewing, forgiving Spirit. Then, tell us the story of God’s amazing love, complete forgiveness, and clarion call to Receive the Spirit that restores and transformed each and every one of us.
Preacher, I know this is not easy. The easier path is to demure in the face of such atrocities.
Please, Preacher, take one more step. Find some way to share the Word God is giving you beyond the four walls of the church. Let the people who think the Church is sitting feckless on the sidelines hear what God is saying through you.
Be a beacon. Be Light. Offer hope. All will be well–Jesus promised us.
I’m praying for you this night.