I had intended to have a little bit of fun with my congregation this past Sunday.
Sunday's Gospel Lesson was the story of the Prodigal Son (I prefer Timothy Keller's suggestion that we should rename the parable "The Prodigal God."). There is not much to be said about this story that hasn't already been said, and I know this. Yet, it is my calling to proclaim God's message, taking the old, old story and translating it's points into today's context.
I thought it might provoke a bit of thinking to offer a choice as far as a sermon was concerned, a way to break out of the traditional rut of worship and get the congregation involved.
Therefore, last Thursday, my traditional sermon writing day, I sat down at the computer to type out my sermons. The four worder was easily accomplished. Then, I turned my attention to writing the longer, traditional, fifteen minute diatribe.
I placed my fingers on the keyboard, and...
I mean nothing.
In 12 years of proclaiming the Gospel, that has never happened.
You see, I am a believer that the Holy Spirit leads me and guides me in my preaching. Every sermon I have sat down to write has simply flowed--almost effortlessly from the mind to keyboard. Yes, there are a few times I've had to back up and do things a little differently; but I have never suffered from "writer's block." When there was absolutely nothing there, I took that as a sign. The four word sermon was intended to be the sermon, and that's the one I proclaimed this Sunday.
It is the one I share with you now as you think about the parable of the Prodigal Son:
Be like the Father.* Amen
*Father is intentionally capitalized, and when I asked members of my congregation who actually wrote down the sermon whether or not they had capitalized "Father", the vast majority of them did. My congregation gets it!