Further Thoughts on Speaking Life
Yesterday I preached a sermon on how we desperately need the Spirit of God to help us learn to speak life into the world, and not death.
I just watched the video of the sermon, as I typically do on Mondays.
Mostly I watch to see what nervous tics, idiosyncrasies or other annoying things I did that I need to work on to make me a better preacher. But I also evaluate the content and delivery as well.
As I thought about it more, I felt like there was something I should have said to the congregation about how they needed to be speaking not only truth to power but grace and peace as well.
Our words can heal, but they can also destroy, and it's the latter that seems to be preoccupying our culture, and our elected leaders.
And then I came across this quote from theologian N.T. Wright today in my daily reading:
We know that we've got to get to Caesar with the gospel, we know today far better than many generations that we have to announce to the principalities and powers that their time is up, that Jesus is Lord and they are not.The fact of the matter is that our political leaders in the U.S. need some Jesus. You can quote me on that.
And if you are wondering what I'm talking about--stop reading this and go read the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7 (some of you followed my advice and did that last week).
Because in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus laid down some straight-up truth about living an open-handed, selfless, God-focused, kin-dom-minded, loving, integrity-fueled, generous, courageous, justice-oriented, mercy-filled kind of life.
That's what I mean when I say they need Jesus. And as the words leave my own mouth they land on me, too. Because I need Jesus more than most people.
But we all know that the fact that some of our elected officials think they've got some Jesus is almost always negated by the things that they say about the people who disagree with them on debatable issues. Or the terrible things that say about their critics.
Or just the terrible things they say in general.
Here's the thing, those of us who claim to be Christians need the power of the Spirit of God in our lives so that we can speak life into the world more consistently and with greater intentionality.
And then we need to boldly speak grace, peace, and truth to the principalities and powers of this world.
We need to start a revolution of loving, Jesus-flavored speech throughout our public discourse.
Kindness is not weakness. Common ground is possible. Civil discourse, open debate, mutual respect... these are all virtuous ideals that we can achieve if we are courageous enough to try.
The Darkness that would seek to divide us, tear us apart, and leave us broken... it doesn't get to win. You can quote me on that, too.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.