Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


Some Sundays you go home worried about the folks who are going to have to dig themselves out of the mess you just made. That was last Sunday. How did it go, Rach? Just didn’t get the job done this time, Dad.

Preachers are self-conscious; at least those whose company I keep. We know when we miss the mark. When folks, for whatever reason, aren’t with us, we feel it. We play it over in our minds and sigh the deep sighs.

Here, try this on for size, is a fair invitation to issue from the pulpit. It functions best, however, when accompanied with a little tidying up on the part of the dressing room attendant! I’m sorry. What I left strewn about:

Root of Jesse stuff - I spoke of the root but not of Jesse. Jesse is the father of David. God promised to care for the ancient Israelites through Jesse’s family tree; put another way, through a descendant of David.

The utter chaos and ruin experienced in Jeremiah’s day was not the end of God’s covenant with creation, according to that same prophet. What remained would root downward and bear fruit upward (2 Kings 19:30). The root of Jesse, then, was symbolic language for how God was going to keep God’s word. It remains a metaphor for God’s ability to redeem anything and everything.

Christ will come again stuff - I imagined out loud how easy it would be to poke fun at churchgoers. Maybe I should have prefaced that by stressing that getting one’s jollies at the expense of others is never okay.

The intent was to gaze upon the many verses that seem to indicate that Christians waged it all on the return of Jesus in their lifetime; then, to come back to that conundrum and celebrate the fact that faith is not all hung on that one peg. Methodists are practical theologians, for goodness sake! We listen for the Word in texts that were inspired by God, but also written for ancient audiences. We honor context. Then, we ask the Spirit to help us extract what is timeless and therefore applicable life and life together.

This week, this flesh (v.6) sees the relentless return of Sunday differently. It looks potentially salvific. It looks like grace.

UncategorizedRachel May