Thursday, June 3, 2010

Preaching Time!

Jason Oliver Evans, St. Matthews UMC, Greensboro, N.C.

Last Trinity Sunday, I preached from John 16:12-15. The United Methodist tradition commemorates Trinity Sunday as Peace with Justice Sunday. The sermon was entitled "He Comes to Lead Us!" In the sermon, I talked about how Christ sent the Spirit to comfort, guide, and empower the disciples (that includes today's Christians!) to do the work of the ministry.

Much of the sermon was inspired by an event previously held last Thursday. St. Matthews UMC hosted a Faith and Immigration breakfast sponsored by the NC Council of Churches. I learned a lot about how faith communities are responding to the debate about immigration reform. I was inspired by the speakers.

The whole service was beautiful. When preaching time came, Rev. Beverly introduced me and petitioned the congregation to pray for me as I entered the sacred space to preach God's Word. I stepped into the sacred space with fear and trembling. Nevertheless, I knew that God has a Word for the people present within the sanctuary. I lost track for a moment when I preached from my manuscript. I excused myself for a quick moment then picked up where I left off. I felt the Spirit strengthening me and the nervousness began to wane.

After the service ended, the pastor and congregants encouraged me. I felt their love and appreciation every step after the doxology was sung. A friend also came to hear me and she affirmed the gift stirring within me. We had some refreshments which were prepared in the fellowship hall, then we went out to eat. I felt good that day!

On the second Sunday of June I will be preaching from the story of Ahab and Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-21a). The sermon will be entitled "It Doesn't Pay to Do Wrong."

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