Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • DIY sermonising

    We are, at CWBC, what you might call niche. We’re not very trendy (I’m not even trendy enough to know an example of what is trendy to show you how trendy we’re not). There’s plenty of churches you can go to if you want to the latest song/series/Christian tattoo. We’re also not very churchy. If you want a ‘proper’ church, with sermons and all that, again, plenty of other options. Sometimes I worry that some of our people would prefer this more, but then, it’s not what we are and they keep coming.

    We follow a rhythm every the month to try and encompass all the aspects of worship, we have a Sunday morning focussed on prayer and meditation, one focussed on the bread and wine, another one with a teaching emphasis, and, on the first Sunday of each month we have what we call the Gathering. This usually takes place in the cafe and everyone sits around talking, a few songs, good coffee (mostly), bustling, chattering, elbow knocking, all ages together. It’s this branch of God’s family hanging out together with go for a while.

    Instead of me telling everyone what to think on these weeks, we usually have a discussion, either all together or round the tables, and this week between us we looked at three different readings about the hard sayings of Jesus (Mark 8, take up your cross, Matthew 18 the unforgiving servant and John 14 I am the way the truth and the life).

    From it we got our 3 point sermon, a kind of DIY sermon we made up on the spot. I’m always impressed by the theology that takes place when you stop telling people what to think and let them and the Holy Spirit work it out. The John reading, “I am the way the truth and the life, no-one goes to the father except by me”, is sometimes used to say that other faiths are ‘bad’. This is to use the verse completely out of context, and you can usually tell if someone is taking a text out of context because it become nasty and graceless and not at all the kind of thing God would actually say. Anyways, one of the things drawn out in this reading, which is all about knowing God, is that through Jesus a new intimacy can be found. God is no longer GOD THE GREAT JEHOVAH, God now becomes Father. There may be many ways to know God, but to know God as Father, it can be done, and it is done through knowing Jesus.

    The DIY sermon developed from this to what it mean to take up your cross, looking at the challenge and cost of following and then onto a very practical example around forgiveness. We pulled out how complex the issue of forgiveness is, and how it is easily trivialised or oversimplified into meaninglessness. I liked the idea that forgiveness is a circuit that involves the hurter, the one who was hurt, and God, and includes a desire to forgive, genuine regret, understanding, love and more. The parable offered no simple formula, but I learnt that wherever there is a gap in that circuit, God can step in. The circuit can be completed whatever human element may be missing, as God’s grace can fill the gap. If I’m not making any sense, email me and I’ll try to explain.

    The most memorable insight came from the John reading. People spoke of how it was a great comfort when Jesus says, there are many rooms in my Father’s house and we discussed the variety of God’s kingdom and creation. One of our people (in fact, she is one of our best theologians but doesn’t know it) chipped in that perhaps this was prophesy from Jesus about the bedroom tax. Whilst the government may be squeezing us out and downgrading/downsizing our homes, the promise is that the kingdom will bring a spare room! Genius.

    1 Comment

    • 1. Oct 29 2013 10:31PM by threetrees

      Possibly the world's largest coffee cup. We all went swimming in it afterwards, luckily it was low-caffeine this week.

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Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

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