No text for Sunday's sermon. It was "off the cuff." I will tell what I did as it was kind of fun.
I put the congregation to work.
The ushers handed out pencils. During the sermon I asked them to write a paragraph about the personality of Jesus. What kind of person was he? I played some music while they wrote about Jesus.
Then I asked them (and it only really works if they don't know this is coming) to circle three things they wrote about Jesus that described themselves (or who they would like to be). Then I asked them to tell the person next to them about the Jesus they found and the characteristics that describe them.
It was well-received and far more eye-opening than if I had merely told them how our ideas about Jesus reflect our attitudes. Tell me your Jesus and you will find yourself.
I offered some closing thoughts about how Jesus is a spiritual icon and can be a "lure" inviting us to discover our deepest or best selves.
This is the real value of Jesus and why his story continues to be retold.
I hope folks will tell me about the Jesus they found.
I learned this exercise from Walter Wink when he and his partner, June Keener-Wink led a workshop at Kirkridge. He was working on his book The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of Man. A good read by the way.