Thursday, 4 December 2008

Advent: Alignment, Preaching, Praxis

This is a Jesus Society, and you repent not by feeling bad, but by thinking different.” Rudy Wiebe. Advent hope? NOT cheap comfort, massaging consciences to feel better about things to which they ought to feel more sensitized. It’s about coming fully alive, aware of the dynamics around our lives and activities. Here to support our struggle for alignment, for all of us who preach, is a wee something by way of Wes Roberts from a liturgy of the Abbotsford Community (h/t Graham Peacock)

Preaching What Your Practice

If I preached what I practiced
the church would be full,
with eager listeners to the latest means
of getting away with as easy a lifestyle as possible
and still call it Christian

If I preached what I practiced
the faith would have followers
clambering at its door, eager to sign up
to wishy-washy justice and part-time belief
if I preached what I practiced.

They would be keen for sermons about
a penny for the poor, and a pound for the pension
keen to listen to homilies that spoke
of living in the reflected glory
of someone else working for peace
They would happily believe
in a faith that changes a light bulb for the sake of creation
rather than sacrifice to shape a whole new way of living
If I preached what I practiced

If I preached what I practiced
church would be popular again
with a doctrine of excuses
and a creed of compromise
a half-way house on almost anything
and a God who is washed out
watered down
and used to support anything you want

we would never need to sign up
to a faith where we find ourselves feeding the poor
by feeding ourselves less
we would just have to proclaim it without doing anything about it
if I preached what I practiced.

we would never have to make a sacrifice for justice
for we would always find an excuse
that would allow us to buy things for the taste
paying lip-service to buying things for justice

or we would never have to go green
we could get away with lime
for we could live according to our personal means and desires
speaking passionately for the planet
living passionately for ourselves
without a thought for the legacy and footprint it leaves
if I preached what I practiced

So hear my confession
that my living is not as full of God
as the words that I utter
May it be that the words
take form
and leave footprints
of someone who finally
practices what they preach

It all puts me in mind of some words of Abu Bekr, father in law of the Prophet, and first caliph of Islam:
“I thank you Lord, for knowing me better than I know myself, and for letting me know myself better than others know me. Make me, I pray, better than they suppose, and forgive me for what they do not know.”

1 comment:

Lucy Mills said...

I really, really like that. Thanks for sharing it...

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