In a time marked by anxiety, Following Jesus (a collection of talks by the late Henri Nouwen) bids us find our home, our security and belonging, with Jesus.
In an early chapter he marks out the transition point of the ministry of John the Baptist, how his first, consistent command of ‘repent’ gives way to a second and command of ‘behold.’
The first command is that of a change of direction.
The second command is that of identifying the destination.
John knew that his people were sinners and needed to repent, but he also knew that he could not take away the sins of those people; that taking away sins was not a human possibility. He said, “Repent, repent, repent!” But when Jesus passed by, John looked hard at him, and said to John and Andrew, “Look, that is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. That is the servant of God. He came to suffer. That is the One who has been sent to become the sacrifice, the Lamb of God, so that he can take away your sins.”
Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus, SPCK, 2019, pg 18.
Will Willimon writes so well, and so economically, that when trying to quote, it’s hard to figure what to leave out.
He refers to the need for pastor/preachers to have courage because “Gospel preaching on Sunday requires finding a way to talk about matters the congregation has excluded from conversation all week.
The need for courage to have that conversation is not because the pastor/preacher fears the congregation and their reaction; no the need to have courage is because the mission Jesus has entrusted us with is so daunting. But Jesus knows we find it daunting, and reassures us.
From Leading With The Sermon:
Why did Jesus tell [the disciples] not to fear? Jesus says, “I am going to take back the world, turn everything upside down in dramatic revolution, and reclaim the kingdom of God. And guess who is going to help me?” He then commands them not to be fearful; it takes guts to work with Jesus.
Fear of public speaking always makes the top of the list of phobias. Preachers get the shakes not out of fear of our audience, but due to Jesus. The message he commissions us to deliver is not for the faint of heart. Intestinal fortitude is required to preach provocative Jesus.
William H Willimon, Leading With The Sermon, Fortress Press, 2020, pgs 27.
As mentioned in my update on AFL round 10, finding a time to update these tips is not very easy.
So I’m reposting AFL round 10, AFL round 11 and NRL round 13.
Then I should be able to post for the next rounds next Thursday.
(Draws count as correct)
NRL (last round 7/8; season tally 68/96)
(Draws count as correct)
AFL (last round 6/9; season tally 48/80)
Greater Western Sydney
A couple of minutes of sunshine, on the birthday of someone who brightens the life of her mother and me.
You Are My Sunshine by Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Jenny Gill and Corinna Grant Gill at The Grand Ole Opry.