Tuesday, August 01, 2006

P.E.P. Talk

Tonight I may have secured a footnote in the history of the church in Scotland, nae the world. This evening one of my friends (Danni) dubbed me a post emergent pastor. A google search found one reference to a post-emergent movement, but I think I can claim to be the first post emergent pastor.

Here’s the historic moment: try and picture the scene. In a modern church building in the south side of Glasgow people have gathered for a short evening service. This is to be a service of worship, praise, prayer and preaching. About 40-50 seats are arranged around a circular table with 5 candles on it. The music is good, the songs are modern, and two men are leading the service. Half way through one of them begins to talk – he sits as he introduces the people to the theme of journeying on the road of life.

The story is the story of Abraham – but Abraham’s story is our story, or something like it. God was with Abraham on the journey, God is with us too. God gave Abraham promises. What were those promises? How did Abraham manage them? As the speaker describes each of the three promises that God gave to Abraham, he brings a juggling ball out of his cool, but un-PC, leather man bag. That’s 3 promises, so 3 juggling balls.

There is a pause. The man stands up. The man asks two questions. ‘Any budding clowns in the audience? Anybody able to juggle?’

The man is now animated like he’s never been before. He feels like he is really communicating, he’s really speaking to people. But nobody volunteers to juggle.

The preacher begins to juggle. As he juggles, he describes how Abraham struggled to trust the promises of God. Abraham had to juggle with all sorts of doubts, issues, family problems, enemies, disappointments – he had to juggle with the promises while his life seemed to deny them. Sometimes he dropped them, sometimes God seemed to throw a curve ball into the mix. We, too, are faced with the same challenges. We, too, learn how to juggle the promises of God in our mixed up lives.

After only 2 minutes of juggling and preaching the preacher returns to his seat. Now, he has the attention of almost everyone in the room. He tries to talk about the grace of God… people listen, he can catch the eyes of almost everyone in the room. He talks about keeping going on the road. He talks about the grace of God as unchangeable love and kindness to those who change too often for the worse rather than the better. Chatting to people after the service makes him think they got the message. Some even for the first time.

Post Emergent Pastor. You read it here first.

1 comment:

Danny said...

Well now he is post-emergent, where next for our fearless pastor? Fire eating perhaps...oh I know it has to be tight-rope walking... excellent sermon illustration, rapt attention guaranteed - no building or visible means of support required (wire excepted maybe!!)safety net optional...