Brothers and sisters,
This coming Sunday, October 1, we will be starting a new sermon series entitled, “Uncomfortable Faith.” The basic premise of this entire series is that there are some teachings of Jesus that can make us feel a little, you know, uncomfortable. There are some teachings that we think, “Did Jesus really say that?” Or, there are things he said, particularly parables, that we may think, “You know, I remember that being in there, but I forgot just how intense that passage was.” Those are the types of passages we will be looking at over the next two months.
Here’s the thing. In the midst of these intense passages, these words of Jesus that may make us feel a little uncomfortable, there are beautiful messages of faith and love and grace. In the midst of these intense passages, I am fully confident that God will walk with us. And I would argue that if we are not willing to challenge ourselves, to examine the sometimes difficult teachings of our faith, to consider that we may not have all the answers, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. Faith is a journey. It is a quest to draw closer to God in all that we do. Sometimes that means wrestling with ideas we hadn’t thought of be-fore. Sometimes it means wrestling with passages that make us uncomfortable. But, again, God walks alongside us and guides us in all of this—if we will humble ourselves and listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Now, for this series we will mostly be looking at passages from the Gospel of Matthew, but we will have two detours. I will be on vacation on October 15th, so a student from Duke Divinity School will be preaching for me. I’ve told him to prepare a standalone sermon, rather than ask him to preach on an uncomfortable passage. And on November 19th, we will hop over to 2 Corinthians and have a more Thanksgiving-themed worship service. But I am looking forward to preaching this series. I’m looking forward to the questions we’ll get to ask and the conversations I hope this series will start.
Grace and peace,