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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Harmonies of Liberty

Okay, folks, I know she is the General Minister and President of my denomination, so you may not believe me, but seriously, go watch this. It is a sermon and only 18 minutes long. (Dad always said after 20 minutes they forget more than they remember anyway.) The text is here, but I really recommend hearing her words.

It is an amazing sermon. And even watching it in my office, feeling sort of obligated to do so, I was deeply moved by it. It is so tightly constructed, that I believe this illustration from early on fairly presents the theme:
There is a story attributed to Cherokee wisdom:

One evening a grandfather was teaching his young grandson about the internal battle that each person faces.

“There are two wolves struggling inside each of us,” the old man said.

“One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self-pity, fear ...

“The other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, love ...”

The grandson sat, thinking, then asked: “Which wolf wins, Grandfather?”

His grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”

It is remarkable to see such an example of prophetic preaching. The scripture is from Isaiah, and she is Isaiah. Dr. Watkins is imploring the new president to do what is right, to remember his gifts as well as his challenges. She speaks frankly about the temptations to hide and draw in when in trouble times, but begs him to feed the better wolf.

Local note: I've seen preaching like this before. This is the type of sermon that Linda Miller gives the folks at Chalice every Sunday. Now, I say type. Presumably preaching to the president is something you work on pretty intensely and Dr. Watkins is an accomplished preacher, so I'm not saying Linda brings me to tears every Sunday. But my point is, Rev. Miller delivers impassioned sermons that are academically consistent and that respond to the world we live in today. She draws from Christian and non-Christian sources and she calls us to action. I know that there are others who provide the same. If you found this moving and inspiring, I humbly suggest you try to find a Sunday morning service that has something like this. I think they are out there. I know we've got it a Chalice Christian Church, 15303 S. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, Arizona. ;)

1 comment:

Lin said...

Hmmm... I feel a pretty strong need to go work on my sermon.

Thank you for this public call to go listen to Sharon, and for providing easy links. She talks straight. Watching it in real time, with a split screen before me, I saw Obama listening with rapt attention. I thought she was a rare preacher who could stand before an orator like Obama and give such honor to her craft.