Audio will be here.
Fourth Sunday in Easter – May 12, 2019
The original working title for this sermon series “What the Bible Does Not Say” was actually “Bad Theology.” I thought that, in many ways, it would be fun to promote, as in “Come back to worship at Reveille after Easter for some bad theology!”
I perhaps could have gotten away from it were it not for this morning’s sermon, which engages the saying “God needed another angel.” In considering this series as a whole, I realized that much of what I was only half-seriously labeling “bad theology” are actually sayings that have brought people measures of comfort during exceedingly difficult days. It may have helped someone frame a painful time in life to tell themselves “Everything happens for a reason.” The saying “The Lord helps those who help themselves” may have provided just the right motivation for someone to do something important, and imagining a dearly departed loved one as an angel among the angels of the heavenly host may have been all that enabled you to survive an inexpressibly painful loss.
So then, if God has used these extra-biblical sayings to bless you in some important way, then I say, “Glory to God.” However, given what each of these platitudes articulates, were they true, about the nature of who our God truly is, I would strongly warn against saying them to someone else, and this is no truer about any of them than the one I am addressing this morning.
When I was twenty-four and in my second year of seminary, I was the student associate pastor of a small congregation in rural western North Carolina. One night, a couple in the church invited me to their home for dinner, and afterward we sat in the living room and talked. I was aware that this couple had, in the not too distant past, tragically lost an infant. I knew this because they were very open about it. Yet as we sat in the front room, with its white walls, white carpet, and white furniture, the mother looked me in the eyes and said, “The reason I am a Christian is so that when I die, I can walk through those heavenly gates to the heavenly nursery and get my daughter back.”