As a sustainist preacher, I pray that I may preach a word that would sustain those who hear. I pray that the words I use will inspire others to act in a way that will sustain themselves, their families and friends, their communities, and the earth. It is a lofty goal I set for myself each time I preach. Therefore, I always feel inadequate in preparing a sermon. I read the bible passages appointed for that week (the Revised Common Lectionary) and realize again the awesome task of interpreting the Word. How will the Word connect with people’s lives this week? How will my words working with the Word enable the spirit to flow, bringing sustenance to the people?
The words I use in the precious 10 to 20 minutes of the sermon time are only half of the event. It is like breathing; speaking is breathing-out. Then what is the breathing-in part, the part that sustains me as a preacher? Listening is breathing-in. Each time I prepare to preach, I have to remind myself that I need to awaken my ears to listen to my own heart, to the people in the community, to what is happening in our society, and to the earth on which I stand. Awakening my ears requires me to be open to seeing and hearing things the way they are rather than what I think they should be. It is about truly noticing what is actually happening around me without my interpretation or judgment. I must awaken my ears to listen to the cry of the brokenhearted, the mourning of the weary, the sighing of the wounded, the unspoken insecurity of the rich, the silent protest of the poor, the innocence of the uncertain questioners, the scheme of the selfish, the hope of the desperate, and the groaning of creation.
The sustainist with awakened ears can hear the voices behind and around the loud and overpowering noises of the powerful who control and define what they want us to believe as the truth. It is through listening to these voices that the sustainist can speak and sustain the weary with a word of the Truth.
Invite members of your community to gather and to discern the truth:
Reflection Questions Palm Sunday (Year B)
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Eric H. F. Law
For competent leadership in a diverse changing world
Upcoming Opportunities to Study with The Sustainist:
May 4-5, 2012
May 7-11, 2012
Register at: www.kscopeinstitute.org