A foraged sermon on forgiveness
One of the elements which we have lost from the preaching and storytelling of Jesus is the extent to which they were drawn from his immediate setting in time and space. Thus, for instance, he uses the moment when a child is thrust at him for a blessing to talk about childlike faith. He uses a shouted question from the crowd about the latest news story to talk about the brevity of life and the need for repentance. Some commentators would have us believe that he used the nickname of a narrow gate in Jerusalem’s city wall to talk about rich men entering heaven like a ‘camel through the eye of the needle’
Yesterday morning, I preached on the subject of ‘forgiving one another’, and went foraging in the church car park for my visual aid. A heavily laden walnut tree, some of whose boughs currently adorn the pulpit, gave me plenty of scope.
I love walnuts – but to bite into the hard outer hull would be bitter at best. If I were to pierce it successfully with my teeth, the resulting juices would stain my skin indelibly. Even if I succeeded in removing that hull – I would still be faced with the unyielding walnut shell. Inside very Christian man or woman there is goodness, God-ness and the rainbow-coloured grace of God to rival the sweetness of any nut. The trouble is, it gets overlaid by layer after layer of unforgiven slights and resentment. Each adds to the last – until a hard shell is formed disguising the beauty of God underneath.
Walnut to one side, I could then talk about setting habits of forgiveness and giving that goodness inside a little more chance to shine. Click here for more details
Years ago, there was a poster in the Youth Lounge at my church reading ‘God want spiritual fruits, not religious nuts’! Hopefully these particular nuts may lead to some fruit.