So, some people were excited and encouraged by what they heard in the Bishop’s sermon and I’m not just talking about those who found all the stuff about love and fire, especially in the hands (or mouth) of a moving orator uplifting.
I’m talking about those who said -the Gospel was there.
So, if you are going to critique the sermon, don’t miss this.
- The rich soaking of the talk in Scripture. These were powerful verses and they were given central attention.
This included quoting what Jesus said was the heart of the Law. I saw someone say that he had preached the law brilliantly
“But love is not only about a young couple. Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we’re all here. Two young people fell in love and we all showed up. But it’s not just for and about a young couple who we rejoice with. It’s more than that. Jesus of Nazareth on one occasion was asked by a lawyer the sum of the essence of the teachings of Moses and he went back and reached back into the Hebrew scriptures and Jesus said, ‘you shall love the lord, your god, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment.’”
And the Law bit does need preaching. One of the historical reasons for the Wesleyan Revival catching fire was that people were well versed in the demands of the Law, so when the preaching of the Gospel came, people were under conviction. Now, the beauty here is that the bishop has got to the nub of what God’s Law is in a way that is vital. If people think that law is about rules and a policeman God, the sermon says no, it’s to do with love and relationships. A God who is love and pours out his love and rightly call us to love Him back and to love each other onward.
Then here’s the next bit,
2. The bishop actually talked about Jesus’ death as sacrifice.
“He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn’t—he wasn’t getting anything out of it. He gave up his life. He sacrificed his life for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the well-being of the world, for us.”
Now, a sermon that gets people talking about “God is Love” about the call to love him with our whole hearts and that takes us to Jesus dying on the Cross as a sacrifice on one level has to be a good thing. My immediate take on it was that for anyone preaching on Sunday these lines had set them up nicely in front of goal. The Bishop may not have taken the opportunity to put the ball in the net but he’d played us into position where we could.
Tomorrow – what was the problem with the sermon