Ugh - - I am so behind in posts. I have some sermons to go up. There was a Friday Five I meant to do. Play catch up or just keep going? For now it's keep going since some of that stuff is on another computer in another place.
I'm looking at my sermons for the next 3 weeks in a clump (nod to Sojourners online from 2006 for helping me connect some dots). I don't know why I pick series that are hard for me. Why can't I pick a series that feels like it comes naturally? I guess I sort of did that last fall with the Exodus material, but my others have been HARD, at least for me.
Actually, I don't think the Easter lectionary this year makes it easy. I guess I could have gone with the Acts texts to get some narrative things going, but I didn't. I'm going with the Johannine texts, both gospel and epistle, and these more didactic pieces are hard for me. I pulled my first real all-nighter (meaning completely NO sleep) this last Saturday night because I just couldn't make the sermon come together without a good plot line to follow in the text. Yikes.
I could try to avoid that problem again since I haven't published the existence of this Love Series, but I guess I see this is something I should try to tackle head-on, instead of avoiding it. I can't preach only the narrative stuff for my whole life as a pastor. The rest of it is Scripture, too!
So, anyway, these next 3 weeks I'm going to jump on to the various John passages for the most part. I might pull in the Acts as supporting material if it works, but mostly I'm going with the love stuff.
This week it's 1 John 4:7-21 and the abiding love. Our church book group read a book recently called Radical Love.
It really talks a lot about being present with people as the basis of hospitality and, therefore, loving others. I'll have to go back in through it some and see, but I'm sure there's some "abiding" language in it, and if not there should be.
So this week, with this book as a HUGE guide, I'm going to talk about what it means to love others by abiding with them. I sort of feel like I've preached this before, but I'm not sure. I hope it wasn't in this congregation! I've only been here 16 months so it feels too early to pull out sermons for second try.
Next week will be ethical love - - acts of justice as acts of love.
The final week will pull it all together with Jesus' prayer for his disciples. Before he heads to the cross he prays that God will guard them and protect them in their ministry. He doesn't pray for them to avoid it, but acknowledges that what they are being asked to do is dangerous love. Of anyone he knows this, so he prays that they will have the protecting hand of God with them in the world where they live and love.
So, that's my quick plan for this week and the coming weeks. More to develop on this week, more to read.