“What we have lost…”[i] Barbara Brown Taylor has written,
“…is a full sense of the power of God
to recruit people
who have made terrible choices;
to invade the most hopeless lives
and fill them with light;
to sneak up on people who are thinking about lunch,
and smack them up side the head with glory.”
Several years ago on a Sunday morning in a large downtown church,
as Tom Long tells the story,[ii]
the pastor had read the scripture lesson and was taking a deep breath
before launching into the sermon when suddenly a man, a stranger,
stood up in the balcony.
“I have a word from the Lord!” he shouted
down to the congregation below
the startled congregation.
Heads swiveled upward to see the source of this interruption.
What “word from the Lord” did this man bring?
No one will ever know…
…for ushers bounded like gazelles up to the balcony and,
before the man could say another word,
they had escorted him down the stairs and out of the building.
Strange, isn’t it?
Each Sunday, countless preachers in innumerable pulpits clear their throats,
and start to preach–at least implying—
–that we have a word from the Lord.
But nobody tenses as she begins to speak.
No heads swivel in alarm as he launches into the sermon.
No ushers suddenly leapt into action as I began here this morning…
…Instead, we crease our bulletins,
silently check our watches,
and settle in for the sermon.
What are we expecting?
A sermon? Yes.
A word from the Lord? Well… [Read more…]