Tumbling in the Sand
At the synod assembly a few weeks ago now
the seven last words of the church were mentioned.
Do you know the seven last words of the church?
“We’ve never done it that way before.”
or, as we’d say in the south, “We ain’t never done it thataway before”
(“that a way” being one word, you know.)
And there is something to be said for those being the last words of the church:
An unwillingness to try new things, to explore what the Spirit might be up to tends to kill communities.
The past is a great place for those who’ve lived it but it is entirely unwelcoming to new people who can’t participate in the past.
We’ve never done it that way before is not a great place to start from when it comes to hospitality to the stranger
—who may well be one of those disciples sent to give good news
—or a prophet unknown, with a word of repentance or hope and healing
—or maybe just someone who really needs a welcome.
We’ve never done it that way before
leaves out the chance for resurrections to occur
for new things to come sprouting up
for the blessings of God doing a new thing in our midst.
No doubt—we’ve never done it that way before could be quite legitimately the seven last words of the church.
or, really, even for each of our individual lives of faith as we seek to discern what God has for each of us.
“I’ve never done it that way before!”
But the Gospel also suggests that there is another danger that we sometimes forget about:
that it’s just as easy to dismiss what we know as what we don’t know.
We could be too familiar with Jesus
so familiar that we just dismiss him like we already know him …
I tend not to post the whole text of my Sunday sermons online; instead, I post an audio file for you to listen to—so, if you click on the play button below the text references, you can listen to me preach the sermon (make sure your browser and plugins are up to date—sometimes the little player doesn’t load if you aren’t up to date). If, by chance, you would like a copy of the full transcript, please feel free to email me (pebblefaith at gmail dot com) and I will be happy to send it to you! Many, many blessings!