This is not the age of information. . . This is the time of loaves and fishes. People are hungry and one good word is bread for a thousand. David Whyte
I’ve set aside a few days this week and next for sermon planning, as I prepare to preach in pulpits around the diocese this fall. I’d love to hear from you before I speak to you.
In light of national and global events, the escalating political rhetoric of the presidential election, and your personal concerns and dreams, what do you hope to hear from the pulpit when you come to church? What do you think Jesus is saying to us now?
A sermon is a sacred moment when one person, having studied our sacred texts and prayed for inspiration, speaks to the real life circumstances of those listening. But a sermon is also one half of a sustained conversation between preacher and congregation. Given that I can’t be with you each week, that conversation is harder to sustain, and I miss it.
And so I invite all those who are not preachers to take a moment in prayer and then write the one sentence you most need to hear from the pulpit, what you believe Jesus is saying to us all.
On September 1, I’ll be preaching at a gathering of teachers, administrators and clergy on the Cathedral Close, an annual service of rededication before the students arrive. Discussing possible themes, Chaplain Eva Cavaleri wrote:
We’re preparing ourselves to be present this fall to our communities in the face of the intense political atmosphere and general sense of anxiety that surrounds us. We’re planning conversations with faculty about how engage with students and families, reminding all how to have civil discourse, with careful listening and respect for difference; and how to be present to the sense of anxiety and fear that the political rhetoric is causing both children and parents.
Earlier in the summer I received an email from another school leader:
We are very concerned about the current political situation and the heightened intensity of race and police relations – never before has the world seemed so very unsettled in my lifetime. A group of us met recently, including our parent diversity group leaders – and there is concern about how this will seep into our school life when we return – worries, fears, anger, etc. … The parent leaders are wishful that you would help us in gathering together and talking through what it means to parent through these difficult times.
Many in our diocesan family and the communities we serve in Christ’s name have good reasons to be afraid for themselves and their children. For others, the fear may be less immediate but no less real. And surely we all wonder how to live and respond to the events of our time.
How we, as Christian community, speak among ourselves and to the broader culture matters, especially in times such as these. So please, if you will, take a moment to compose your one-sentence sermon. If you post it in the comments on this blog or on social media, together we’ll create a fuller sermon from the collection of sentences. If you’d prefer to write me confidentially, you can respond via email.