Two questions today:
1) Who are you?
2) Who are we?
If you missed church yesterday, you missed something. Joel Willis knocked it out of the park with his sermon. He was kind enough to send me his outline, which is attached below. I hope you are not offended by nudity. (Maybe that will get a few more of you to take a look at it. ☺)
There was so much in the sermon that was so powerful, but my main takeaway was what Joel said about our tendency to equate our identity with what we do. There are several problems with that, one of which is that we aren’t always able to do what we once were able to do.
My identity about thirty years ago was very much wrapped up in my ability to run. When I was running good times, I felt great about myself. When I had a bad race, my self-esteem plummeted. Good thing now that I have become a “jogger”, a word I used to despise, that I have found other ways to establish my identity!
Sometime our identity is found in our fears. We aren’t warriors. We are worriers. One of my favorite songs that we sing at 11 am is “No Longer Slaves.” The refrain is: “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” That is the identify that is not tied to our performance. And it is not tied to our emotions. It is a constant. It is the keystone in the Roman arch that Joel talked about.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was involved in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The plot failed, he was arrested, and days before the war ended, he was hanged. He wrote a beautiful poem in prison about identity. Here is how it ends:
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God. I am thine.
Who are you as an individual? And who are we as a church?
Joel challenged us yesterday to bring these questions to God in prayer between now and the end of the year:
1) Who are we as a church?
2) Where are we going?
Please join me in accepting Joel’s challenge.