A week from today I am lucky enough to preach. Twice. I’ll preach at two different churches, two different sermons from two different Biblical texts. Both churches are communities near and dear to me. The first is at the church we attended in Vancouver, BC, the second is our church we attend in Bellingham.
Despite differences, both sermons touch on how Jesus transforms his followers. The first sermon is the lectionary text for Sunday, Mark 9:2-8, the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. The second sermon talks about the major transformation that occurs in the life of a believer as described in Ephesians 2:1-7. So how about it Internets, let’s write my sermons!
I am being facetious. I always do serious work on my sermons both in study and craft, but I am suspicious of preachers that do all their prep in private as though they have a pipeline to Divine truth the rest of us don’t have. I would love to have a conversation about what either of these passages mean, where they are challenging, what questions you have, where God is speaking to you in the text. I believe such conversations enrich preaching and make it something more than my private thoughts writ large. So here are my passages:
Sermon A, Mark 9:2-8
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
Sermon B, Ephesians 2:1-7:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Please feel free to share what emotions these passages evoke or any issues you have.