Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mark 7:1-23 - Clean Hands and Unclean Hearts


Passage: Mark 7:1-23
Originally Preached: 12/06/05 - 6:30pm Service - St Stephen's Anglican, Belrose
Series: A Boat, Cleanliness, and a Woman from Outta Town

Description: Jesus challenges us to have a faith that transforms the heart rather than just adheres to traditions

Comment: Sermon two in the series. I remember this was a hard sermon to do. The message wasn't a nice and it was tricky. I did many re-writes to get this where I wanted it. I was on camp the weekend before I preached and I remember feeling pretty stressed. With Jesus talking about tradition I wanted to make sure that the tradition we talked about in our young teens and twenties congregation wasn't the robes and hymns but our traditions that stop us from properly following Jesus. I decided to hit the "traditional" church problem head on by starting the sermon wearing robes, carrying a big Bible and talking in a pompous accent. I wanted people to think I was having a go at tradition. But as I spoke it became clear that the problem with the character was not his robes but his heart.

I think the illustration worked. If nothing else it warmed everyone up, gave the sermon a light hearted tone but heavy subject matter. I think though it also managed to establish the whole "traditional" discussion from the first moment they heard the organ announcing my arrival (which you hear only a note of in the recording).

After my pompous minister I had the problem of how to switch from the accent I was doing to my normal one smoothly. I decided to switch slowly as I did the Bible reading. I did this so that by the end there is very little of my attempt at an English accent. You hear me apologise for the English accent and someone says something about it. I thought they thought I was paying out the English, but they were paying out my English accent. I then go on to say "There's nothing wrong with the English accent" which is true if I was talking about the English accent itself, but if I'm talking about my accent I'm wrong, because it was a bad accent, especially by the end when it was almost gone. Sadly every time I hear that part of the sermon I get embarrassed because it sounds like I'm talking up my English accent which is quite terrible. I know it wouldn't bother most people but I notice it.

After that point though, the sermon is rather straight forward. You can hear that the congregation was in a pretty responsive mood that night, talking back to me and all. I quite like that it means people are paying attention and allows the message to be a shared experience.

The application was hard, I wanted to make sure it challenged people without making them feel like they were being told off. The application was a challenge to me too. I needed to make sure I had a faith that affected my whole life, not just my appearance. I hope we did manage to be convicted and encouraged to change without all the baggage that comes with that. I'll have to trust God on it.


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