Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's in? What's out?

So the lectionary includes verses beyond those that I want to preach about (Hebrews 13:1-3, 15-16). I've been known to expand a lectionary passage, but it is rare (if ever) that I shorten one. I will admit that I'm cutting out the tough stuff, and that is making it hard for me to really do it. I'm leaving out the marriage and fornicating part not because I want to avoid having that converation in church, but because I don't want to have it now. I want to preach about the love and hospitality and sharing that is mentioned in other parts of this section and don't want folks to be distracted by the "sex" talk. Is that a cop out? I want to cut 4-8 and just use the rest of the lectionary passage. Not sure if I should yet, though.

I preached the Luke passage back in February, and I only just now noticed that we actually read then just these Hebrews verses that I'm thinking about for this week. Funny.

Anyway, I think I'll pair the Hebrews passage with the story of Abraham and Sarah from Genesis 18:1-8 to explain the allusion. I'd like to do my storytelling of the passage from memory with that reading since it's been almost 2 years since I've done that. I loved it, and apparently the congregtation did, too. I've had some folks ask about it. It's time to try again, especially since I'm doing more of my writing mid-week (or at least I did last week and plan to tomorrow for this week). I have time to do the memorization this way.

OK, confession time. What I really want to preach is this video.

I'm definitely showing it as part of my sermon, but usually when I do something like this I put the video somewhere in the middle of the sermon and use it as an illustration to sort of prove my point. I don't usually start with a video, especially not one that essentially gives the "right answer" from the start. I'm not really thinking of a creative way to get started though, so maybe a different preaching style is OK sometimes. Maybe this one will be crafted in more of teaching style than a preaching style, at least for me. I really want to show the congregation how evangelism isn't something you learn out of book with a cookie-cutter, uncomfortable process, but is really about opening your eyes and looking out with the eyes and heart of Christ to see who needs a place to belong. It's about sharing from the blessings we have what other people need without judging or discouraging them. It's about readying ourselves for newcomers to come among us, which might mean seeing our space be used in a way we never thought it would be as they make "ours" "theirs," too. And, in our congregation that is hesitant to actually talk about Jesus to people outside our doors, it is even about that, talking about Jesus, when a relationship has been established and mutual trust to grow and learn together exists.

It's a longer video than I usually show, so maybe a change of style is what I have to do to fit it and my preaching of it and the Scripture into the service. A little change is OK, right? That's what I'm telling everyone else!


Jules said...

Great video! I know a lot of churches that have put up "No skateboarding" signs but I never heard of one before that actually reached out to those kids.

Wendy said...

My pastor used this week's lectionary passages last week and she skipped just as you are considering (though she was pairing with Luke.)

I like your storytelling plan.

Beach Walkin said...

crying. oh to be the church in that way.

She Rev said...

Thanks all! When I got to my writing day today, though, I remember now the passage I was originally going to pair this video with - - Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. It was a bit easier to organize so I think I'll go with it after all. Too bad in some ways. I was looking forward to getting back to the story-telling with Genesis. I guess I could do it with the woman's story, too, but that's longer and has trickier (to memorize) phrases, etc. We'll see!