Date: May 15, 2011
Liturgical Sunday: Fourth Sunday of Easter
RCL Scripture: Psalm 23; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
Sermon Title: Our Shepherd, redux
Knox Presbyterian [audio:https://wordsfromthemiddle.ca/wp-content/uploads/110515_-_Knox.mp3|titles=Our Shepherd, redux]
This is a joint service with St. Mark’s coming out to join Knox for church, then games for the Sunday School set followed by lunch.
For those of you who are following this blog in any current way you will have instantly noticed that it is the Thursday before May 15, 2011 which means that this is appearing in advance of this Sunday. This is not exactly unheard of but I don’t do this too often.
I thought I would take a moment or two to explain what’s up with the sermon title for this week, including what I mean by “redux.”
Redux is an adjective meaning “brought back, restored” (from the Latin reducere – bring back) used in literature and film titles. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redux_(literary_term)
The reason for the “redux” in the sermon title is that I am going to revisit the notion of “Our Shepherd.” As I have noted more than once I tend not to preach the same sermon more than once, even if I am preaching from a manuscript . . . which now, is virtually never. In this case, I have preached a sermon with this same title (minus the redux part of course) before, and in fact, more than once before. What is more, I have preached it to this congregation before, which to many, many preachers is the kiss of death. However, I am not many, many preachers, I am just me and it never ceases to amaze me the number of new insights that I gain into familiar territory and Scripture as I age. This is not to say that it won’t feel/sound familiar to the good people at Knox Presbyterian’s joint service this Sunday but I suspect it will also feel/sound different, perhaps even new and with God’s intervention better for the listeners than it did before.
A very small part of me wants to revisit this for the simple, and somewhat tawdry, reason that I have never had my interaction with this family of texts recorded and I have had reports of good things when I have preached about this before. I will try and rise above this sort of reason in the future but I’m not making any promises.
I am looking forward to posting the sermon in a few days and even more, looking forward to opening the Word of God for His people . . . some of His choicest people at that.
PS I wouldn’t want for a second to suggest that there is any similarity between Rev. Dr. Billy Graham and me but I found out in this fascinating TEDTalk that he very rarely uses a manuscript either . . . guess I’m in pretty good company. If you have 26:24 I strongly recommend this online talk, Billy Graham’s TEDTalk. I will see about posting links to other especially good TEDTalks and other resources unless I hear from you that you don’t want them cluttering up this blog.
Also special thanks to the Fireside Bistro and Regan who helped make this blog post happen with their excellent service and free wifi while I was playing hooky from work.
May 15, 2011
Now it is Sunday May 15, 2011 and the sermon is up for your listening pleasure.
As I noted above, this is the annual joint service where the good folks from St. Mark’s come out to Knox and join for a service, games and a wonderful meal. This poses a certain amount of angst in me as I address in the first few minutes of the message. What is interesting is that, perhaps as a function of some of the complexities of preaching to both congregations, this sermon clocks in at 22:20 which makes it one of the longest sermons I have posted on this blog (it is third longest if you are really curious). I hasten to add that as someone who initially learned the craft of preaching in a CMA school, this is not even CLOSE to the longest sermon I have ever preached, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
I must confess that I really enjoyed revisiting one of the most significant and, in an odd way, one of the trickiest images we have in Scripture, namely God as shepherd . . . we just don’t live in a sheep culture. Nonetheless, there were some very positive comments at the conclusion of the service and at the lunch afterward so I think, with God’s help, I managed to hit the mark without an excessive amount of repetition from other sermons.
As always, I am quite interested in any feedback that you may have but it certainly isn’t required.
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