I followed Eugene Peterson’s work on this one in Tell it Slant, with some insights from Kate Huey’s blog for the United Church of Christ.
There was some interesting feedback, some of which came from a family who are dealing with issues of inclusion and exclusion, of who is :good” and who is “bad”, and said that what I had given them with the sermon was hope to get through a difficult family meeting to be held on the Sunday afternoon.
No sermon yesterday as I had to travel to Thames.
However, I am recommending some reading.
“Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace” by Miroslav Volf.
In it he analyses “the challenges Christian forgiveness faces in a society that is both sentimental and profoundly unforgiving”
One powerful section is subtitled Taking, Getting and Giving – or the coercive mode, the sales mode and the gift mode – each in themselves a way of how we relate to one another.
I have just about finished the section on how we twist the gift mode. Giving is about delighting in and seeking the good of the other. Anytime we give without those as the primary motives we are not really giving at all, rather we are underhandedly taking or getting but dressing it up as giving.
I will be endeavouring to post sermons on this site regularly.
A word of caution. I don't regularly attribute sources because I read widely, and as the sermons are primarily a text for oral presentation and aural reception, I don't cite sources as I go. In other quarters there are ongoing debates on plagiarism in preaching (see homileticsonline.com
for example). I am concerned to connect with the Word and the congregation so that they might connect with the Word. That is not an academic exercise. Rather it is an attempt to help people in their daily living as persons and as a community to respond to the thought "There's something about Jesus…"