Saturday, August 05, 2006


I have a newsletter column due tomorrow and am feeling the strain of having to commit to sermon topics for the month of September -- or for at least the first few services of the program year.

I often wish I could dispense with this "Coming Attractions" kind of thing, as I think it panders to the consumeristic approach to church-going, i.e., "I'll go to church if the sermon topic is sexy enough."

But I do it myself, of course, as I did only a few weeks ago when I saw that the Park Street Church was offering a sermon series on the Church Fathers. The preaching minister kindly sent me an e-mail with a link to his sermon so I could hear for myself what kind of a "yawner" I was missing. I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but I do plan to attend his church in the morning.

When I look back at the past two years of so of preaching topics, I am really proud of their depth and creativity. I am gratified that I prayerfully chose every single topic out of what I deeply believed would bring the best ministry and challenge to my congregation. I did not avoid the things I would rather have skipped, and I did not speak on matters I felt incapable of tackling because of ignorance on the subject. I am not afraid to admit to my people that sometimes I need to "stew" on a subject for quite awhile before I dare speak at length about it. I have heard too many shallow screeds myself to inflict that on my congregation.

I think our Homecoming Service theme will be Home. Home as an archetype, Home as a spiritual goal, Home as a call to stewardship and understanding. Home and hospitality.
I am aware that there are more exiles on this planet than there have ever been throughout history. Some exiles have been stolen into slavery, some have been cast out of their homes because of famine or war. Adam and Eve were exiles. It seems to be part of the human condition.

Jesus said that foxes have their holes and birds have the sky, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. During the years I moved state to state, apartment to apartment, and dreamed heartbreaking dreams of my childhood home in Connecticut, Jesus' sad wisdom gave me much comfort.

Where is your home?
What makes it home for you?
If the Earth was imperiled in some way that required immediate evacuation to another planet, would you get on the ship to go? Or would you choose to perish with the Earth? I know I would.


Blogger Chalicechick said...

Obscure-sounding sermon titles that sound interesting but leave the topic unclear is the best solution I've seen for the "people cherry-picking their sermons" problem.

Responded to the bit about "Home" at the Chaliceblog.


Blogger Chelle said...

Since you want to do it.....why not dispense with announcing your sermon titles a month before you preach them.

I know it's the Unitarian thing to do, but deary, it blocks the spirit from moving within you.

And besides, people need to come to church because they need to come; not because of a sermon title. Don't feed the titilation monster. :-)


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