Acts 1:6-14 – The Seventh Sunday of Easter – for May 28, 2017
â€œThey said, â€˜Galileans, why are you standing here . . .â€ (Acts 1:11)
When first reading the lectionaryâ€™s four scripture lessons this week, boredom was my companion. Or is â€œboredâ€ overly harsh? Still, the assigned passages were either too familiar or lacked inspiration.
I started with John 17:1-11. And then onto Acts 1:6-14, Psalm 68:1-10, and I Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11. Early morning by early morning, I sought one that tickled my fancy.
Near weekâ€™s end, my fancy remained tickle free.
If I were now serving a congregation, striving to be open to Godâ€™s guidance while trusting my homiletic cleverness, Iâ€™d be a tad panicked. After all, Sundayâ€™s coming. What to preach? What to preach! Help . . .
However, when serving a churchâ€”even in the honeymoon phase as a newly appointed minister, when I hardly knew the members and couldnâ€™t tell which key opened the sanctuary versus the storeroomâ€”I was preaching to those people at that particular moment.
While listening to and learning from the ancient, living Biblical words, I was also alert to the here-and-now situations of real people with real experiences:
- Had there been a recent death or birth in the congregation?
- Was the church in serious debt or debating a serious issue?
- Had there been a hate crime or a hopeful event in the city where the church was located?
- Had a church memberâ€™s child, serving in the military, been hurt or killed while far from home?
Oh, the ways congregationsâ€”small or large, liberal or conservative, rural or urban, dying in the inner city or thriving in the suburbsâ€”are alike! People hurt. People unwittingly (and wittingly) do stupid things. People argue. People tell you theyâ€™re fine when theyâ€™re not. People deceive, hoard, and outright cheat. However, they are also as beautiful as they are broken. Honest. Hopeful. Resilient. Tender. People delight, bless, and unexpectedly forgive. Continue reading →