I joke that since retiring I preach only in Paradise. That’s Paradise, Pennsylvania where the Leacock Presbyterian Church gathers for worship. Yesterday, I filled in for the church’s interim pastor and preached a sermon called “Making It Real.” The link below connects to a PDF (Portable Document File) of the manuscript form of my sermon.
The book to which I refer in the sermon, Trauma and Recovery, written by Judith Lewis Herman, MD, is available through Amazon (and perhaps elsewhere) second-hand in its hardback version or in its digital format. I found the book very helpful and quite readable.
Following is one paragraph the sermon explaining its title.
<< By “making it real,” I mean representing in our own humanity the gospel of Jesus Christ, representing him to people in ways that are honest, authentic, faithful, and decidedly respectful and humble. Making it real requires listening and not just for an opening we can exploit with our arguments. In biblical terms, to listen is to understand with sympathetic feeling, to walk with, to enter into the other person’s situation without trying to take control of it, to stand with the person and let ourselves become vulnerable. A church or a Christian that will not become vulnerable with people who are vulnerable cannot faithfully communicate the gospel. We do not share gospel when we have nothing to say beyond, “We know, and you don’t; we’re right and you’re wrong; we’re saved and you’re lost unless you submit to our authority, accept our truth our way, and become one of us.” That’s not gospel. >>