So on Labor Day, I decided I was going to test some new recipes. I’m headlining a youth kickoff cookout (because I’m just that cool) on Sunday afternoon before heading to Saint Louis, and I wanted to see if I could make a good chipotle ketchup and the best practice for grilling portobello mushrooms. (The answers, ultimately? Absolutely yes and marinading them helps tremendously.)
Between having the idea that I should cook new things and the finished product, I destroyed two blenders, started a small grease fire, burnt my knee on the oven door, ruined two sets of sweet potato fries, and set my apartment smoke alarms off not once, not twice, but four times. At one point, I seriously just knelt down in the kitchen and wanted to quit. At another point, I started laughing because the bottom of my blender just fell out. (Thankfully, it was over a bowl, I caught all that lovely tomato puree. That was my good luck on the day.) The sink was full of dishes, my place still smells like burnt grease (and will for a week, I’m guessing)… but at the end of the day, Chris and I and some neighbors had burgers, grilled portobellos, and a fine time together.
I bring this up because I’m looking and looking and looking for a way into the sermon text for this week. The prophet Elijah (who’s spending September with us, or we are with him) is a maniac. And he has beautiful moments, and he has interesting points, and then, there’s the story for this week–he openly mocks the priests of Baal, wastes water during a long drought, and murders 450 people. Sorry, the voice of scripture says “slaughter.”
When the story’s rough, how do we tell it, and how do we find God working in it? Because yes, God is a character and plays a role in this story–causing drought, raining fire, helping Elijah escape–but I’m not sure if God is the grease fire or the set table, if you will. And I’m wrestling with the text, wrestling with the story, wrestling with how to faithfully and intentionally share the good news.
Kathy spoke on Sunday about having the wherewithal to stop and listen; it’s a good point in an excellent sermon, if you missed it. This week, it might be about naming the systems and finding a third way.
I tell you what–I’ll keep wrestling (and eating leftovers! Yum!) and we’ll see where we land on Sunday. I’m looking forward to seeing you then.
P.S. On this day three years ago, I preached my first sermon at Midway Hills. It’s been a great three years, and here’s to many more as we walk this road together. Thanks for calling me, folks.