Friday, January 26, 2007

Off to Breakforth 2007

In about an hour I'll be off to Edmonton to attend Breakforth. Last year's was fun so I'm looking forward to this year's. Tony Campolo is a speaker and I'm a big fan of his.

Be good while I'm gone.

Here's a snippet from this week's sermon that I won't be preaching (someone else has generously offered to step in and read it for me): might have thought that Jesus would have used a different strategy. I guess he was sick the day in seminary where they taught would-be preachers how to outline an argument. He forgot that you need to save your more inflammatory rhetoric after telling a joke, softening up the listeners with a heartwarming story or inspiring poem.

Not with Jesus. First day in the pulpit, first sermon, he jabs them right between the eyes with Isaiah followed by a right hook from First Kings. And the congregation goes down for the count.

When they get back up on their feet, they try to throw him off a cliff. And with that, Luke says that Jesus “went on his way.”

I guess his work was done. If his job was to leave a group of unsuspecting church folks frothing at the mouth, then, I say, “Mission Accomplished!”

But if the crowd was so angry, who could blame them? Listen to what he said, and you may remember this from last week when we heard the first part of this story:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Fine. Good. Great, even. Reading from the bible is what we expect preachers to do. It was wonderful to see little Jesus, Joseph and Mary’s boy take his faith seriously. They remembered him when he delivered papers, letting him off the hook when their morning news arrived after their coffee had perked.

They had heard that he was making a name for himself in the city, playing the small venues, building an audience. So, they were all smiles when he walked to the front of the sanctuary and started reading the bible.

But then he sat down in the preacher’s chair. That’s when the trouble began.

It was quiet. When he was sure that he had everyone’s attention, Jesus pronounced...(the whole thing here)

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