It’s almost 10 and time is short before I have to stand before your people and deliver your word. I’ve toyed with the idea of preaching on repentance, but I have seen too often the stony face of the unrepentant adulterer staring back blankly without ever seeing a Christian glimmer of repentance in his eyes. I’ve seen the tax cheat glibly grin at such urgings, and never seen him walk the aisle. I’ve seen the fornicating teen unmoved by all such calls and that same girl rush out after they’ve been uttered to the arms of her fornicating teen partner.
I’ve also, gracious Father, played around with once more calling your congregation to constancy and faithfulness in worship only to be greeted at the exit with encouraging words of ‘that was a great sermon, pastor’ followed by empty pews on Sunday night and emptier on Wednesday. Knowing, full well, by the look in their eyes, that they’ve already planned their evening delights.
Love, too, came to mind, dear Father but when I read such texts I see the smirking face of the man who would prefer to see my decomposing corpse hanging from the Bell Tower and I can hardly utter them without feeling sick to my stomach – knowing that they, along with all the others, will descend on ears closed and deaf and hearts hard and necks unbendable.
So what should I preach, dear Lord- that your people may actually heed?
And then I heard a voice from heaven, answering my prayer!
Preacher, go, ascend your pulpit with boldness and greet my sheep in my name. And then tell them, if you truly wish a hearing and a positive response, to rush from this place and follow their favorite sporting team. Attend every game and buy every trinket and spend every free moment talking with your friends and families about that team. Center your life in that team, and the game it plays. Make haste, tell them, to their child’s every extra-church activity and then take their rest when the hour of worship comes. They must, after all, be well rested for the sporting contest which consumes their every day. And the lesson they must teach their young ones is that all must precede devotion to me.
Deliver this message, simply and plainly put: ‘live for yourself’ and all will applaud you. Except, of course, me. I, for my part, will condemn you for bowing the knee to Ba’al and feeding the sheep the poison they prefer instead of the bread of Life which I have myself delivered to you.
Now, Cassandra, stand up and go. Prepare to plow the seashore. Deliver my word to them and then go in peace. You have done your part; if the sheep refuse to heed the Chief Shepherd, why do you imagine they will give any thought to you, a mere underling?