This past Sunday, our son and I simultaneously arrived at our driveway from opposite directions. I, returning from church. He, from baseball practice. Our conversation went something like this:
Him: How was church?
Me: Good! The band played for the first time in a while and sounded great! We had a good crowd, including some folks we hadn’t seen in a while. So the energy was high and my sermon crushed it.
Him: Cool, but don’t you always say that about your sermons?
Me: Honestly, no. There are some days it just doesn’t hit right. But today? Today, I was in the zone. And we sang “The King of Glory Comes” at the end. That’s always fun!
Him: Wait, is that the song you always do that embarrassing dance to?
Me: [giving him the side eye] Yes.
Him: You’re weird. [walks away]
While he’s not wrong, I’m not either. Sometimes the Spirit and I align and good things happen. Based on the reaction at the time and since, this one landed. Of course, as always, you should judge that for yourself.
It was week two of Advent in the Revised Common Lectionary, so our texts were from Isaiah 11 and Matthew 3.
Us preacher types are often accused of not citing our sources in sermons. It’s a very fair criticism, one I try to counter in these posts by linking to stats or information I quote in the sermon. There wasn’t as much of that this time, but in addition to talking with a member of our congregation who is an arborist, I also read a few articles about stumps. This is the one I quote. As you’ll notice if you listen/watch the sermon, the participants in our two weekly bible studies truly helped me as well. Big thanks to all of them!
Watch or just listen below. If you watch, you’ll want to stick around for the dance party with the final song and see me embarrass myself (and my kids). But I promise you I’m having fun!
Perhaps looming family obligations are stressing you out? If that’s you, just hold on. We need you. A new thing is happening and we need you.
Maybe Christmas time brings out the ache of missing those you’ve loved and lost? If that’s you, just hold on. We need you. God is doing a new thing and God is with you.
Maybe this time of year you’re feeling so overwhelmed with all the gifts you have to get for all the people and it’s just too much. If that’s you, just hold on. We need you. God is with you.
To paraphrase Isaiah, “existence is resistance.” Just hold on. We need you. You’re not alone.
Isaiah and John and Jesus tell us a better world is possible. As Arundhati Roy wrote, “Not only is a better world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, we can hear her breathing.”
Just hold on.