Friday, October 28, 2022

Back in the swing (sort of)

On Sunday I am preaching in a series designed by our minister.  We have reached Eph. 5:1-20. Thinking back to 21 years of ministry when I was often preparing two sermons every week I find it so much slower going. 'It's age', says Carol. That's true but it is also being out of the pastoral swing and weekly disciplines.  Anyway. I am thinking of a dialogue at the beginning.  Perhaps something like this.  

If you’ve got a thing against Christians (I’m hoping that’s not true), but if you’re a critic and you think they make claims for themselves that they are superior, holier than thou, and therefore hypocrites because they are just like us, if not worse.  If you’ve got a thing against Christians today’s reading is just a gift.  It justifies everything you think.  Just look at it. Eph. 5:1  Be imitators of God. It's a strong word - imitate, copy. I like JB Phillips translation; As children copy their fathers, you as God’s children are to copy him. Copiers of the Father,  

And the critic says: 'That’s exactly what I am talking about: You have this claim 'imitators of God' and all the stuff in this chapter about not even a hint of immorality, impurity, greed, falsehood, anger as God's holy people living in love and unity.  How can you seriously claim that?'

Defensively, we reply: 'Hold on, you haven’t been to our series on Ephesians where the first three chapters are all about how much difference Jesus makes in his love and power and by the Holy Spirit to our lives. And how much we need him to become imitators of God.  

And the critic says: So you are really calling yourselves imitators of God.  Come on, be serious.

And we say:  We are not saying we are good imitators, copiers.  In fact we know we are not very good, but that's what we long to be, better God copiers with God's help.  



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