Last night I concluded my six sermon sprint at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church. As anticipated, it has been a great time of interaction about sermons....I have received more in-depth response after each service than for a very long time. By in-depth I mean the willingness of individuals to talk about different biblical texts with personal involvement and insights!
The short series 'The God who makes friends' ended with the greatest theme of all - Love. God's love for us and his command to love him and each other. The two texts spell out startling implications of Christ's offer of friendship before the cross, John 15:1-17 and, after his resurrection, his restitution of the failure, Simon Peter, John 21:15-19. I had never preached these passages before with the theme of God's friendship as central and all the preparation really refreshed me as preacher too.
As guests Carol and I were treated to meals after the services, including a late supper on the concluding night. It was stimulating to share in conversation about the appropriateness of this theme 'The God who makes friends' as people around the table spoke of its personal impact but also its connection with current culture in which deep friendship seems rarer and loneliness more prominent. One person told me about a recent cartoon showing an empty church with a coffin at the front. The funeral director was saying to the minister: 'I thought there might be someone here. He had 2000 friends on Facebook!'
Anyway, we are shortly returning home, full of gratitude for the friendship of so many and the opportunities to spend some summer in Toronto. Thank you to all who have been remembering us!