Because I know that you all love to receive unsolicited advice, and pearls of wisdom from one who has been ordained all of five minutes and just can’t help herself, here it is:
If you are already committed to preaching the chicken this weekend, here are my top tips for relating fried food to the Word of the Lord this Sunday:
1) Preach the Gospel. That is, the Good News of God in Christ; God’s redeeming love; God with us, God’s grace and graciousness and steadfast loving kindness towards us and all whom God has made. Hate rarely sounds like gospel; it just plain doesn’t preach as gospel.
2) If you’re on the David track, it’s possible to worry about upon whom we who “have it all” in the marriage stakes are trampling; whose precious lamb we are prepared to sacrifice at no cost to ourselves. And what even would it cost us to share what we already have in abundance?
3) Jesus is the bread of life, and satiates our deepest hunger. Fried chicken, as far as I know, does not claim to do that, at least not permanently (falling quail from Exodus notwithstanding). Know the difference; live the difference. Examine appetites, determine the healthy diet for long-term, eternal wellness, wholeness, godliness. Have we fooled ourselves this week into substituting chicken for conversation, fast food for long, slow engagement with one another and with God?
4) Ephesians is trying its utmost to make peace this week: bear with one another in love, live up to your calling with patience, gentleness and humility: speak the truth in love. Whether you speak in words or in dollars withheld or spent or donated to a cause, do so because of what and whom you love, not because of what or whom you hate.
5) Hate is not a family value, and it really doesn’t work well as a vehicle of the gospel. Speak your truth knowing that the person to whom you are speaking is also a child of God, beloved of God, however misguided, bigoted, lost, hellbound, sinful, beyond the pale you might believe her to be. God can love me through all of that and out the other side. God can do that for you, too. That’s gospel.
6) Don’t be blown around by every wind of doctrine and every trickery and deceit, every soundbite and every political advert. Stand firm in the gospel. Let Jesus feed you; let the Spirit of God cleanse your heart and renew a right spirit within you. Don’t be hating. Speak the truth. Speak it in love.
7) As a billboard of my diocese proclaims: Love God. Love your neighbour (whomever he loves. Change the world.
Go in peace.