I am preaching for the last time in DiscipleChurch this coming Sunday. And since it is my last time there, after founding this service and after being privileged to preach in it for almost 9 years, I hope you will indulge me a little. This Sunday, I am going to preach from what has become my very favorite story about Jesus in the gospels. I say that I am asking for your indulgence, because I have preached from this passage once before.
To so many commentators and preachers we have all read and heard over our years in the church, THE point of the story is Jesus’ admonition: “Let anyone who is without sin be the first to cast the first stone.” This is very much like his teaching to “Judge not.” Or his parable of the wheat and the tares. But this ignores the woman whose life was at stake here. If, for the church, the entire point of this story is for Jesus to teach this yet again, then we are using the memory of this woman and the pathos of her life a little bit like the men in this scene were using her just to test Jesus.
Teresa was a true mystic, one of the “Doctors” of the Catholic Church because of her mystical experiences of the Spirit and what she taught us about these experiences. When Teresa experienced God personally in the “principle chamber” of her diamond-like soul, she was in a way a Church of one.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. I intend for us to have some fun with my sermon. For a change. I am going talk about the wisdom I have learned from my dad. And I will be inviting you to consider and remember the wisdom you have learned from your dad, and from any and every father figure who has ever graced your life. And, brothers, to consider the wisdom you may have imparted to a child.
This Sunday in DiscipleChurch, we start four weeks of attentive listening to a woman mystic known as Julian of Norwich. We do not know if this was her actual name. She was an anchoress, something like a hermit, who spent her days and years in virtual solitude in a tiny house attached to the Church of Saint Julian in Norwich, England in the late 14th century.
For those of us who are not in active ministry to the suffering, but who have experienced, or will most certainly experience, a great tragedy in life, how to carry on in the face of it? And how to carry on with joy and peace and zest for living? We will be dealing with this this Sunday and the next.