April 26th, 2010

light in the darkness

[sermon 20] Easter 4C - Shepherding Community

[This is the text I preached off of -- though definitely not the verbatim text that actually came out of my mouth; for that, click the mp3 link at the bottom if you want.  The Scriptures were all an adaptation of the NRSV and The Inclusive Bible -- with Annie playing Marty Haugen's "Shepherd Me, O God" for Psalm 23 -- and are at the bottom, just before the audiolink.]

Easter 4C - April 25, 2010
Acts 9:36-43
Psalm 23
Revelation 7:9-17
John 10:22-30
Shepherding Community

Will you pray with me?
Jesus, three times you said to Simon Peter, the rock on whom you built your Church: "Do you love me? Feed my sheep." May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be filled with love for you and for each other, may they be food that will nourish and sustain us.  Amen.
I promise not to rehash Sean's sermon from last week; I just love that particular bit of lectionary.

I'm not actually going to talk about sheep at all. When I first read today's lectionary, they seemed the obvious connecting thread -- except for the Acts passage -- and I think maybe my literature major self got stuck there. My friend Sophia, in contrast, after I'd told her about my lack of inspiration, read through the assigned lectionary texts and said: "I feel like there's something there, but it's sort of scattered and hard to get at beyond the obvious bent of the lectionary towards 'Jesus shows She is God by healing people, restoring them to community, and freeing them from fear and sorrow, and then bestowing on Her followers the ability to do the same.' "

I kinda just wanna leave it at that and sit down now 'cause that preaches all on its own, but that's a bit of a cheat. So let's dig into this idea a bit more.

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audiofile (21.4MB, 15:34min)
religion is a queer thing

"Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life."

I wanted to wait to post my sermon until I could make an accompanying post debriefing the whole experience, but I didn't get home until ~11:30 last night, and today was quasi-hectic, and I told facebook that I would post it today...

Short version: I had the same partial draft of a sermon from sometime Wednesday through Sunday morning, so I was an occasional stressball.  But Sunday afternoon I sliced out lots of stuff I was really fond of but that just wasn't fitting, and I had a presentable text with time to spare before service.  Actually preaching?  I was (as expected) v v nervous, but in the sunlit room I also felt the Holy Spirit moving (which is not something I usually say) -- the experience was greater than the words I'd input on my computer screen.