Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Crafting of a Sermon - #6

Charlton Heston (middle)
Probably somewhere in Colorado

Linda and I are leaving in a half hour for the funeral service of our friend Patsy Duffey's mother. Linda has been asked to play "It Is Well" on piano. For us, this is a great honor.

When I got up I had breakfast - a bowl of Kashi Island Vanilla (mmm!) & 1% milk. I turned on the tv and "Planet of the Apes" had just started. There's Charlton Heston and two actos I don't recognize. Heston tells them they are 300,000,000 light years from earth and 2000 years into the future. Back on earth (if there is an earth) their loved ones are all gone. One astronaut looks at Heston in disbelief and says "That's just a theory!" Heston says, "It's a fact - get over it."

They are on this planet, but it's really the Grand Canyon area in Arizona. So it's not easy to make the cognitive leap. But the movie is mesmerizing. I get caught up in this thing again. But I also have things to do. So, in a powerful display of self-control, I turn off "Planet of the Apes" and open N.T. Wright's commentary John For Everyone.

Wright is that rare person who is both a brilliant scholar and can write things for everyone. Because of this, and because he's Anglican, he's been compared to C.S. Lewis. I am always using Wright in my sermon preparation. I do this for a variety of reasons, to include the idea that Wright has it pretty much right in regard to a hermeneutical theory that is temporally biblical and thus not grossly fundamentalist-anachronistic.

In his "For Everyone" series Wright often picks up on certain themes and preaches them, rather than going verse-by-verse (which he could easily do). In this section (John 20:11-18) he focuses on Mary's moment of recognition. Good! Because this has stood out to me from my first reading. Here "something extraordinary has taken place, not only to Jesus - though that's extraordinary enough - but to the way the world is, the way God is, the way God and his disciples now are. Up to this point Jesus has spoken about God as 'the father', or 'the father who sent me', or 'my father'. He has called his followers 'disciples', 'servants', 'friends'. Now all that has changed." It's this change that I am very interested in, and which I now feel certain I will share with our people this coming Sunday morning.

I'll look at this later today. Then I'll probably print out my notes so far and take a long prayer walk with them.