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Breaking 75

June 6, 2011

You will have to forgive those of us who live in Western Washington for being a little giddy this week. This weekend, we hit 75 degrees for the first time in nine months. After a long, cold, and wet fall, winter, and spring, the euphoria on a warm sunny day is almost palpable. 

For over 250 days, the meteorologists in Seattle had to face the camera and predict another day of below average heat and above average rain. However, their livelihood is based on reporting what weather instruments and satellites tell them, not on what people want to hear. We would love a 75 degree break in February, but if it is not going to happen, it is a hollow promise that ultimately brings more despair. 

Forgive me if this is a bit of a defensive vocational take, but pastors face a similar situation. A pastor’s task is to tell people what ‘is.’ Most of us would like to tell people what people want to hear, but that is not the charge we believe God has given us. Most pastors would prefer to not talk about suffering or sin, but how much credibility would we have the first time a parishioner faced a hardship or experienced the consequences of sin. 

A sermon is not powerful because it paints a picture of how we want to see the world. The power in a sermon is in painting a picture of how God wants the world to look. A pastor could promise if you follow Jesus, your problems will disappear and your troubles will cease. However, there is even less truth in that than the prediction we will have 29 – 75 degree days next February. The truth is, we can trust the Creator in rain or shine, in hot or cold. Only an accurate weather report will prepare us for the day. Only an honest word will prepare us for eternity.

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