As I mentioned in a post earlier this week I am preaching today at the Enterprise Community Congregational Church in Enterprise, Oregon.
I decided to build on my study of the Letter to the Hebrews, about which I have also written here. In essence, my sermon is on the claim of Christian orthodoxy that Jesus is “full human and fully God.” What does that mean? And why does it matter?
While you wouldn’t think that would be an odd sermon topic or focus, it sort of is. Most of the sermons I have heard and many that I have preached dance around such core theological claims in favor of current events, encouragement to be a better person and maybe some ideas about keeping hope alive in the face of steady discouragement.
A friend used to speak about the ways we in the church often “major in the minors.” I hope that my sermon today avoids that and instead “majors” in the things that are major.
I am also remembering the original meaning of the word, “Protestant.” People often link it to the word “protest,” and being against this or that. In actuality, its origins are the Latin words, “pro” meaning “for,” and “testis,” meaning “testimony.” Protestants were people who gave testimony to their faith in God, what God has done, and what God is doing — often at a great cost.
Alas, in these latter days it is more often the case that we mainline Protestants either major in the minors or frequently we content ourselves with saying what we are against, what we don’t believe in. In too many U.C.C. churches people almost boast about “not believing any of that stuff here. We just sort of believe in being open-minded and being good people.”
One problem with that is that we are seldom as “open-minded” as we think. That and we eventually discover if we are at all honest with ourselves that we aren’t always good people. Having exhausted those options, we may find ourselves with little to fall back on.
So today, by the grace of God, I’m hoping to do a very Protestant thing, that is to give testimony to a big, bold, audacious claim of our faith. That Jesus is both, fully God and fully human. And to say why in the world that matters. God give me strength.