As our District Superintendent Rev. Terry Fleming pointed out in his sermon yesterday, begging is not something any of us want to do. It feels demeaning. We’ll ask. Some will command. Some just do whatever they think is right with the hopes that others will follow suit. But, few of us will beg. If we were to beg, it would be for the most significant of reasons.
If my sermon yesterday sounded a little grumpy for someone just returning from a wonderful vacation, then you should know that the majority of the work was done before I left. Maybe that explains some of the edge. When I returned, refreshed and joyful, however, I still saw the value in preaching it. It's not that I've noticed a rise of malice and slander among our congregation, but that we're to "not make room for the devil" (Ephesians 4:27) and it feels like there has been a rise of anger and hardheartedness on a national and global scale. Thankfully there are counter-stories that show that kindness is not only still part of how our church lives and grows together, but how the country and world does.