As you know, we’re trying something new this July, a sermon series called “The Godfollower: When God Makes You An Offer You Can’t Refuse.” It’s monologues from the perspective of characters in the story of David as found (for now) in 1 Samuel. David’s story is one of families fighting for power, to define a legacy for the future while controlling the throne and power in the present. Not only is it a great story in and of itself, but raises questions about scripture (Why are the bad parts left in? Why are there clearly double-narratives happening in the text?) and the mythos of David (Jesus inherits his throne from a Godfather? Did David actually kill Goliath? How much did he actually know when he claimed innocence?) and the work of the church as well.
This week, someone whom I love very much in this church called me with a couple of updates and then said something I’ve been chewing on since. “I’d like a little bit of application in these monologues. They’re good stories, but what do we do with them today?” It’s a great point, and I truly am thankful for the feedback. I would say “Sometimes a story is just a story,” but that’s a dangerous view to take or uphold in today’s world.
Right now, the Republican National Convention is happening in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m again on media blackout, because I want to focus on the work of the Church in a world that I think is worth a lot to God. But, we have a family defining a narrative and seeking to seize power and consolidate a reign. Next week, when the Democratic National Convention happens in Philadelphia, I’ll still be on media blackout as there will be a family defining a narrative and seeking to seize power and consolidate a reign. What do we do with people who are overwhelmingly convinced of their own worth and plan, like David? What do we do with the status quo being maintained through force, like with Saul? How do we interpret, respond to and move forward when some people are fully vested in the idea that God speaks to them and through them, like Samuel? I’ll be more clear in drawing connections to the present day. Because there are many.
This weekend, though, I will not be with you in worship. I’m headed to Disciples Oaks Retreat Center (yes, the DORC, though they call it Gonzo) in Gonzalez, Texas, for the Christian Youth Leadership Seminar for our Region. It is my last camp of the summer, and it’s the last one before I roll out of my regional role. While I’m sweating my brains out next week, I will give thanks repeatedly for a congregation that accepts, encourages and allows me to serve the Church in Area and Regional ways. Zane will be preaching from the perspective of the surviving priest of the City of Nob. It will be fantastic. I look forward to being with you all again soon.