The people on the hillside were hungry for bread, but maybe, like us, they were even more hungry for something deeper. This sermon on faith addresses our search for meaning beyond the drudgery and repetition of our daily activities. It is the spiritual need each person has to know that he or she is not alone in this gigantic and sometimes unkind maze of life.
When I was in high school a new music teacher came to town. He was fresh out of college and full of ambition. But here he was, stuck in a very rural community where people didn't put up with (as they called it) "long-haired music," either from the Beatles or Beethoven. Still, he was determined to teach us good music. We were going to sing selections from Handel's Messiah for our Christmas concert. Most of us had never heard of Georg Frederic Handel, and when we first tried to sight-read through the selections, we became convinced we didn't like his music. It was too hard, too complicated. More than that, Handel wouldn't allow us to sing simple harmonies; no, he created different parts for each voice, and we in the bass section weren't able to hide all our typical mistakes when Handel and our new director demanded that we sing alone.
Is this a foolish thing we do, sitting here, packing our bags for eternity, waiting for a mysterious dark-haired man who never seems to come, muttering to ourselves on Sundays while the rest of the world passes by and smiles knowingly, shaking its head? This sermon, offered during the season of Advent, beautifully portrays the Christian posture of expectation, of waiting for Jesus to come again.
Before the first Easter, Jesus' disciples had known death only as the end of the line. Jesus shows them a new way of looking at death. No longer a stone wall, a barrier, a termination. No, says Jesus, it's only the passage through customs and immigration, before the next train pulls out of the station.
The Gospel: Promiscuous Preaching 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Labor: Doing Well What We Do Best Ephesians 4:17-28