Candidacy Sermon

This was an interesting development. Glenn was a university student who had attended their fellowship during five years at the college. Served an additional three in a distant city as understudy. He was now a new preacher looking for a pulpit…

“What a pleasure to be in your midst under these circumstances. May there be some food and light brought to you this morning by the grace of God. Open the Bibles before you to Luke chapter seven…”

Glenn proceeded to read the ENTIRE CHAPTER without pause. Part way through some of the parishioners exchanged glances with raised eyebrows.

“I hope to have opportunity to bring before you something of Moses, of Daniel, Isaiah, David, Amos, John the Revelator. But what are crumpets when compared with the Living Bread, Jesus?

I will not be unto you a Bible teacher. I respect you too much for that. I will not bring you books about the Bible, or anecdotes, or light-hearted wanderings. I seek to be the facilitator of an atmosphere of worship, of a habit of waiting upon the arrival of the Living God. There will be much of prayer around the room and of heartfelt personal testimony and triumph as the Holy Spirit is given His way. You will find that I have a dread of ethics and rules. They stifle Life – real Life that is intended to be imparted and not taught.

You all have your Bibles and ample commentaries, concordances and dictionaries. The Church library is full of them as well. I expect you to prepare yourselves with the weight-lifting of independent study. From time to time I will canvas the Body for requests for topics giving particular difficulty. I will labour through those knotty points with the light given me to bring us all up another rung in the ladder. We are going to grow together. Perhaps God will reward us with some breathtaking revelations and His personal presence.

Teaching will not be the main purpose of this worship hour; rather worship itself and ambitious prayer. I believe that this will make us an effective force for righteousness, peace and joy in the community, although God will not pamper our pride by revealing the how and the why. I will not become a Providence for any man, woman or child; rather I will undergird each individual who asks, as God leads him through the valleys and heights of individual destiny.

I will marry. I will bury. Baptise. Comfort. Co-labour. Call to the Table of Remembrance.

Please understand that it will not be my intention to address the lowest common denominator in any message. I expect us to grow and not to stew in the status quo. Healthy growth of course requires exercise. That will include programs to involve the larger community and to bear witness to this marvelous gift of Good News which we possess in earthen vessels. We have been bought with a great price. We are not our own. Our mandate is to take His peace and assurance OUT THERE.

Let us pray…”

(That which followed contained the thanksgiving and the pleadings of a man broken by the image of Calvary, by the hurts and challenges of his fellows, by the revelation of his own shortcomings and by the shortness of the hour until return of the Bridegroom, Jesus – in short, these were the  prayers of a good shepherd.)

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