Several weeks ago the Presbyterian Church in Canada asked congregations to consider doing something to recognize that August 4, 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. The reminder that this is a centennial year was a good one, I was aware of it in the “non-preaching” part of my brain but not necessarily in the “preaching” part.* I am always concerned about services like this one, I am a firm believer in the discipline of using the Lectionary and I am just firmly opposed to “shoehorning” a text to meet some external requirement just because. I should have know better and been more trusting of the Holy Spirit’s providential caring for both the Lectionary and the calendar.
Jacob is one of the most interesting of the Old Testament characters and a good part of his interest springs from how generally unpleasant he could be. I have mentioned before that Jacob’s primary source of difficulty was himself, he was one of those people who are capable of breaking one their own fingers snatching something that is being freely offered to them. Nevertheless, what I was getting at this morning is that in the famous story if his wrestling match and subsequent blessing you cannot separate the blessing from the limp he ended up with. There are times when we get what we want but it comes at a cost. The temptation to insist that God relieve us from suffering the natural consequences of our actions or the vagaries of the Fallen world in which we live is very, very strong.
When we look at the world in which we live now, it is virtually impossible to overstate the impact and effect of WWI; everything changed. Some of the changes were bad, some were good and in neither case can we choose to only take one. I try not to judge between sermons but I think I made the better case in the Knox sermon but if anyone is willing to listen to both and let me know what they think I would be very happy to discuss it further in the comments or by email or FaceBook or any other way.
I’m putting in both a link and an embedded player, let me know which you prefer and if there is an overwhelming choice I’ll go with that. For that matter, let me know what you think of either and maybe it will be best to keep both.
Knox Presbyterian Blessed . . . with a limp
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Blessed . . . with a limp
By the way, both sermons end differently than usual as I decided to include the introduction to the Moment of Silent Reflection we had after the message.
*Remind me to tell you about the Heather and Barry theory of brain partition some time.