Date: May 8, 2011
Liturgical Sunday: Third Sunday of Easter
Sermon Title: Has your heart ever burned?
Knox Presbyterian [audio:https://wordsfromthemiddle.ca/wp-content/uploads/110508_-_Knox.mp3|titles=Has your heart ever burned?]
St. Mark’s Presbyterian [audio:https://wordsfromthemiddle.ca/wp-content/uploads/110508_-_St_Marks.mp3|titles=Has your heart ever burned?]
Well here it is Mother’s Day and I am preaching about those two guys, Cleopas and the other one, on the road to Emmaus. I want to make it perfectly clear that I am very much in favour of mothers – my own and everyone else’s – but I remain to be convinced that there is sufficient value in diverting from a fascinating story in the Gospel lesson for today in favour of what I still regard as a Hallmark(r) “holiday” or observance. I have no hesitation about preaching on mothers and motherhood but I want it to work with the Lectionary rather than being something imposed from some external source. I have preached about mothers from the Old Testament story of Samuel and the New Testament story of Mary but, for better or worse, not on the second Sunday in May.
Now that I have that out of my system. This week’s lectionary reading in the Gospel of Luke provides us the opportunity to reflect on those times when we have had our hearts “strangely warmed,” to do very serious violence to John Wesley’s experience, and in retrospect realized that we had an experience with the living Christ every bit as real as Cleopas and his, unnamed, friend. These experiences when we have them are more “real” than “real.” I would apologize for the mysticism of that last sentence but I don’t want to. One of my ongoing irritations with the ridiculous insistence on the measurability of human experience is that it never extends beyond the religious. When was the last time you heard Hitchens or Dawkins take a run at “love” as something that of course has no real existence, or loyalty, or . . . any of many things that are not amenable to so-called objective measurement. I don’t doubt their sincerity but I have very serious doubts as to the consistency of any belief system that says that only what can be measured “scientifically” is real.
Well, time to get off that soap box. I trust that you will enjoy one or both of these sermons as an opportunity to review, rehearse and revisit those moments in our lives where the “really real” impinged on the simply “real.”