Monday, March 08, 2010

Preaching Repentance: is this Repentance?

Sunday I preached on Repentance. Unfortunately it was not a very good sermon. Not my worst, I hope, but it was a bit disjointed and I did not communicate what I had hoped, actually dropped a whole portion of the sermon on Jesus parable of the fig tree and the gardener. If I am honest, it wasn't a good sermon because I was on the edge of my own understanding. I was preaching to myself as much to the congregation. There's something about repentance and the scriptures appointed for Sunday take me to the edge of my own understanding.

This reminded me that in may or June of 2008 I wrote about being on the edge of my understanding theologically. I think I am still there. Repentance challenges me, because I do not know how to turn wholly towards God. The longer I live and pastor and lead an intentional Christian community the more I know to the depth of my being that God calls me to turn myself towards God and orient my whole self and life around God. Yet, That is so far from the truth. And I resist this turning, I resist the call to repent, and in that resistance I can feel the presence of death. Such resistance dilutes me in someway, I am less vibrant, somehow less alive in those areas where I resist. Yet, I resist all the same. Parts of me disbelieve that to be wholly oriented and ordered around God and God's love is to have true life. Even though I experience this life in those areas of my life where I have turned from self and worldly expectations towards God.

So it turns out I was probably a bit conflicted about what I was seeking to preach. This conflict or perhaps more accurately my inability to recognize the conflict in the midst of sermon preparation to realize that I didn't believe some of what I was trying to preach. So I think I was preaching more to myself than to the congregation. I suppose that is bound to happen maybe even needs to happen from time to time. But at least in this instance it was a lack luster sermon