This Sunday there is only one sermon attached because I only preached one, and what is more I preached it at a different church than usual. Don’t worry, I haven’t left Knox and St. Mark’s, I was invited back to First Presbyterian Church in Regina, what fun!
First Presbyterian is the church that is most responsible for making me a preacher. Needless to say, they are not responsible for any of the shortcomings I might still have but it was there, under the tutelage of kind, generous and godly people that I was helped to see that a sermon is not a lecture, no matter how interesting; a sermon is not a collection of facts presented in such a way that everything is left to the listeners. The good people of First Presbyterian, some of whom have gone on to the eternal reward they richly deserve, gently helped me to see that I had something to say as a preacher and helped me discover the voice I needed to say it.
So when I was asked to preach at First Presbyterian with the texts the Lectionary has for us this Sunday my first thought was to preach about Jacob’s Ladder. It is a great story and has some fascinating insights into the character of God and who we are and how we can relate to God. But I found myself going back again and again to the Epistle reading and in fact just a couple of verses from it. The Epistle reading is Romans 8:12-25 and the verses I keyed on were, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father! it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ–if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom 8:15-17).
Slaves do what they are told to do, even when they don’t want to, because they are afraid not to. Children do what they are told to do, even when they don’t want to, because they know at some level that the parent asking them to do it loves them.
I hope you enjoy this slightly different style of sermon, not that it is dramatically different but there are some differences, at least to me. Let me know in the comments if you hear them too.