Each Sunday, when I’ve finished my sermon, Shari joins me on stage for a few moments of unscripted commentary. I get the sense that this is what people most enjoy about the “sermon time.” And it’s not included on the videos we post online…
Interesting thing, that.
Maybe the best bits about church can never be accessed via the internet.
The bread and the cup. Water baptism. Child dedication. Hugs. Standing in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Christ – shedding tears together, celebrating together. Serving on a Sunday. Those few moments of unscripted commentary.
Anyway, back to Shari’s unscripted commentary…
In my sermon, I had read from Sally Lloyd-Jones’ “The Jesus Storybook Bible” – the story of the Prodigal Son, which she titles Running Away.
“The son takes the money and goes on a long, long journey to a far off country. And everything’s wonderful and perfect—for a while. He can go wherever he wants, do whatever he wants, be whoever he wants. He is the boss, he is free!
Sometimes he gets a strange, hungry, homesick feeling inside his heart, but then he just eats more, or drinks more, or buys more clothes, or goes to more parties until it goes away.”
Shari said how she loved the part where it talked about the hungry, homesick feeling inside his heart… and how we all have that at various times. It’s good. It reminds us of who we are, of where we belong: home. God’s children. Family. It’s a built-in longing for relationship with God. And we should listen to it.
Then Shari said…
“How often do we try to answer that hungry, homesick feeling by eating more, or drinking more, or buying more things, or going to more parties?
And the feeling goes away. It goes away because we’ve become numb. Temporarily satisfied.”
Those few seconds with Shari speaking off the cuff were better than the 25 or 30 minutes of my prepared message.
Her observation made me think about the recovery groups that meet every Sunday after our 5pm service.
I think what’s so beautiful about these groups is that they are filled with people who are remembering.
They are remembering home. They are hungry again. They have come to realize that all their pursuing of more (food, drink, possessions, activity) has only served as a numbing agent for their true hunger. And like the prodigal, they’ve decided to make their way home again.
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Here’s the video we played before Sunday’s sermon…