Saturday, November 18, 2006

Remembrance Day Service

I preached last week and ran head long into many of the issues that Lischer notes. I felt constrained by the congregation in the sense that I didn't want to needlessly offend memories of loved ones lost. The particular passages that were assigned by the Lectionary were apocalyptic in nature (Isaiah and Revelation) which pose certain challenges. Chief among those challenges is that there is no point, no underlying moral or principle to apocalyptic prophecy. I was also challenged by time as there is an unspoken rule that worship will not last longer than an hour and there was already a 10 minute memorial liturgy taking up the 15 to 20 minutes allotted for sermon. There was also the fact that it was Family Sunday meaning that I was theoretically preaching to all ages.

In the end there was still work to be done. I don't thing that I offended anyone but hopefully challenged facile views of war, glory and memory. I was on time and didn't use big words so was accessible by all. I still had a sense of failure however. Part of that failure was mine. Apocalyptic Scripture is a fuzzy area in my head as it is visionary and imprecise. Couple this hermeneutical fuzziness with my own desire to obfuscate my true position regarding war and there was an ambiguity about parts of the sermon that don't satisfy me.

I do wonder though if part of my unease with the result is because the congregation wasn't able to hear the sermon. As my wife said, "What was your point?" Well, the point was fuzzy but was still there. The point was proclamation. The point was that war is human and therefore contains both good and bad. The good is recognizable only by looking at it through the lens of the future. The future is God's. There were no applications in everyday life other than the fact that we cannot remember without using God's vision. Have we so trained people to listen for the point that they are deaf to sermons that simply state God's reality? Does proclamation have a point besides the thing that it proclaims?

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blair,

I wonder if your willingness to share your own personal fuzziness with apocalyptic, your own unsettledness could be a gift that allows and invites the congregation to look at their own fuzziness (or lack thereof, or their desire to get out of the fuzziness)? Perhaps you, as a man of great understanding, being willing to walk into this could create space for grace to work for them as well?

-peter

2:30 PM, May 08, 2007  

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