Sunday, July 06, 2008

Connnecting the Dots?

I pulled together the final details for a sermon and I still feel like I am not connecting the dots. I can feel the mental fatigue of trying to write a strong sermon while keeping up the reality of having a 4 week old newborn in my family.

In light of the challenge, I am going to write out the proposed flow of thought for the sermon. I don't know if I will have the brainpower to deliver this and I will look back in the future to see whether I was wise to take on this sermon this close to Carys' birth.

Mark 1:9-13

There is a clear difference between learning about a person and actually knowing them. Knowing a person is a complex endeavor because people do not reveal everything in their hearts - they keep secrets. Knowing a person involves having the other person reveal themselves to you. Problems arise, however, when we do not let intently listen to the other person but instead force our expectations and desires on them. In other words, we often only see what we want to see and we can get frustrated with the rest.

Our culture plays a significant role in creating this disconnect. We live in a consumer-driven society that includes choice and options at every turn. In fact, we expect to be able to customize whatever products we purchase and/or the experiences we buy. Some online examples in cars and clothing. Another example that impacts young children is Build-A-Bear. Children pick an animal and customize it to their exact liking. The description for Build-A-Bear is "Where Best Friends Are Made"... Best friends eh? Ironically (or not so), these "best friends" are often tossed aside after a week or so in favor of something else. Doesn't this play out with our relationships? We want to customize our friends and relationships so that we can get what we want. That is not how relationships with real people flourish though.

If knowing a person can be complex, then how much more complex is it to know God? Followers of Christ make the bold claim that they can know God. How can we know a God who we cannot see or hear from directly?

I can't write more now but this will be the beginning of how I lead to knowing God through Jesus Christ and Mark 1:9-13 provides a snapshot of Jesus, the Jesus who will be seen and known throughout the rest of the gospel of Mark...