For Lent 2011, we studied Bruce Epperly’s book Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living. The following are the sermon titles and a brief excerpt of the content:
Being fully present — even to the most mundane tasks — can allow you to experience the sacred and cultivate gratitude for the simple joy of being alive.
What does it look like to read the Bible for “formation” instead of “information?” Why would you want to “Start slowly, so that gradually you can slow down,” when our culture wants us to do everything faster and faster? How do we learn to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)?
What does it look like to partner with God in relation to the others whom we meet and who accompany us on the holy adventure that is our life? How can we act as God does — in ways that are often unseen and unappreciated, but that prompt the world toward greater connection, compassion, and wholeness?
In Matthew 25, Jesus seems to be saying that if there is any sort of “Final Judgment,” then the criteria on which you will be judged are not what you know or what you say you believe, but rather what you have actually done (or neglected to do) for the less fortunate — specifically, whether you have helped feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned. Indeed, Jesus seems to be promising — to those of us born centuries too late to meet the historical Jesus in person — that the closest we can come to a transformative face-to-face encounter with Jesus is to aid and be fully present to poor and marginalized. To adapt Jesus’ words, “Truly I tell you, however you treat the least of my sisters or brothers is how you have treated me.”
Bruce Epperly, following Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, writes that, “‘Radical Amazement’ is at the heart of the spiritual adventure.” I invite you to consider: when was the last time you were radically amazed? When did you last find yourself awed or lost in wonder or enchantment?
Christian healing is, not only about the body, but also about the healing of our heart, soul, mind, and emotions as well as the healing of our relationships with others, society, Creation, and God. We cannot manipulate God or predict what God will do. We can only open ourselves further in prayer to God’s healing, loving, graceful presence.
It is less important what people say they believe happened on a Sunday morning 2,000 years ago and much more important whether we are partnering with God to practice resurrection today.
Click on any of the bolded sermon titles above to read the full sermon text.