Preaching Helps

Fall Blue

Dear Wonderful Friends,

Thank you for the comments, emails, texts, and phone calls yesterday.
Your support and encouragement is such a gigantic blessing to me.
Genuinely, thank you so much. And thanks for giving me this space to vent, process, accept, and journey.

I tell you what, preaching and the sermon-formation process is the best medicine for me these days. Preparing to stand before a beautiful congregation of people to proclaim a message of God's unending love - grace - and forgiveness is helpful beyond measure. I find that in order to preach something, I really need to believe it myself. And that is a great motivator to persevere in the midst of my "woe is me/why can't my blood be normal?/will I ever be able to have a family?/will I ever pay off my medical bill?/why is this happening?/is God even paying attention?" moments.

This week's sermon is based on Luke 23:33-43. In these verses, Jesus is being crucified. One of the people being crucified next to Jesus says, "Jesus, remember me..." And then Jesus says, basically, "Today, you're going with me to Paradise."

There are many moments each week (even before the platelet situation) when I just want to know God remembers me, times when I just want some kind of assurance that I'm not forgotten and I won't be forgotten. How about you? Ever feel that way? Of course, right?

It's kind of tricky sometimes, because stinky life-stuff happens, and it sure FEELS like God must not be paying attention. And all the more - in the midst of those really tough times, when we feel alone and isolated and afraid - we long to know we're remembered and not forgotten.

The gospel text for this week really testifies to the reality of a God who always remembers us - no matter what situation we're in.

Jesus doesn't just say to the man, "Sure, I'll definitely keep you mind."
Or, "Actually, I'm in the middle of redeeming all of creation, and could you please be quiet?"
Or, "No, you're a sinner, why would I remember you?"

Instead, Jesus says, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise."

Basically he says to the man, "Yes, I'll remember you. And not just that; I'm taking you with me.
And you'll never be separated from my love. In these moments of pain and suffering - I am with you, and I will always remember you."

I love Jesus' ministry approach.
I love his communication style and his ability to be present with people.
I love that he cares so much that even in the midst of his own terrible suffering and death,
he's comforting the guy hanging next to him.

I love that I can go to sleep on a Thursday night feeling like God has forgotten me,
but wake up Friday morning ready to proclaim that God remembers everyone -and always will.

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