This Sunday will be my first time ever preaching a sermon outside of an academic environment. I've been in Oregon for about a month, have met more children than adults, and yet will be trying to bring a message from God to this congregation I barely know.
All of that is not so daunting, until I remember that I chose the Old Testament passage for the week. What's the problem with that? you ask this woman who claims to love the OT? Well, the problem is that the passage I'll be preaching on is Genesis 22:1-14, known as the sacrifice of Isaac to some and the binding of Isaac to others.
We all know the Sunday school answers for this passage about how God knew beforehand that Isaac would not be killed, that provision was made in advance. Unfortunately, such easy statements just don't cut it for me anymore.
If it were you asked to sacrifice your son how much solace would you find, after three days of torment, in the fact that God provided a ram at the last moment?
If it were you bound, laid on a pile of wood, prepared for sacrifice, would you ever be able to trust your father again?
What do I say to this congregation expecting a word when I don't even know what I think of the words I'm interpreting? Is it possible to challenge, encourage and assure without confusing and killing faith?