The word "submission" in Arabic is seleme. It is both the root for the word "submission" as in Islam...which means "submission to God"...and the root for the word that means "peace"...salam.
- this sermon from three years ago
So it appears that I am having a morning. I have too many sermons in my brain...too many ideas...too many notions that I am passionate about and I am having trouble sifting through them to find what God is asking me to share. I mean, that's what sermon preparation is all about...responding to what God is doing/saying/proclaiming/screaming. The voices in my own mind are getting in the way. There's a sermon in here...I just know it. And it's not a shy and retiring one. But I am afraid that it is so buried in my own crap this week that it may not come out.
I guess I need to pray about this. And if you read this before 10:30 in the morning Chicago time, I would appreciate a prayer or two in my general direction.
The sermon has a title, In Whose Name, but now I am not sure I like it. There is even a hymn of response,Goodness is Stronger Than Evil. That's a great little tune and I am not sure it bears any connection to the sermon that might come out when all is said and done.
I've spent plenty of time on this sermon this week. There have been distractions to be sure. No doubt. But I have had time to sit, ruminate, pray, and research on the Binding/Sacrifice of Isaac. Heck, I have a half dozen apocryphal stories or midrash running through my head. And I am pretty sure that this story is about obedience...obedience to God and the fear of losing God and ourselves in the process of being obedient. You know, these are often connected notions. We don't want to be obedient spiritually. It can be too rigorous for some of us, too austere and demanding. But this passage shows us something peculiar about true obedience...it is always Godly, bringing peace and renewal into the world. Goodness, says obedience, is always stronger than evil.
My process is killing me.
Help me, God.