Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sermon for the Sixth Sunday in Easter

May 29 2011 by the Rev. Kate Ekrem
“Always be ready to make your defense to anyone” – 1 Peter 3:15

Warning: today’s sermon is interactive! Mentally prepare yourself for talking with your neighbor in your pew.

Do you have an elevator speech? You know what I mean, the 30 second or 1 minute pitch about what’s important to you, when someone asks “what’s up with you” on an elevator? It’s generally what you’re selling or what you want your boss to think you’re doing in? I used to work in book publishing, where people actually did have elevator speeches. It was a tall office building, and everyone was always lobbying the boss
to invest in their publishing project, not some other project, so everyone had their 30 second speech on the latest hot book they want to acquire. And when the executive editor stepped into the elevator, out it came. The poor woman probably started taking the stairs.

Our letter from Peter this morning suggests that it’s worth having an elevator speech about your life and your faith. “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone.” Peter was writing in a time when Christians probably had to make their elevator speech to the Roman authorities. Who are you worshipping and how? So they could decide to send them to jail or not. Peter’s telling them, when you get arrested, just speak your piece no matter what happens.  

Today we fortunately don’t have to justify ourselves before the legal authorities. But in this age, when going to church, particularly on Memorial Day weekend, makes you different from most people, people probably ask you, why do you go to church? What if a parent on the sideline of soccer field or friend at party asks, what do you believe about God? What does your faith mean to you? Why do you call yourself a Christian?

If your reaction to this is, who am I to tell people about God, then take a closer look at our Gospel today. The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, is in you. There is no one who is more of an authority on the  Christian life and faith than you are. As Jesus said,  “You know him, because God abides with you, and God will be in you.”

What’s your elevator speech about your faith life? This is the interactive part. Why do you go to church, or why do you call yourself a Christian? Can we take 5 minutes, and share your speech with your neighbor, and listen to theirs?
(Pause for discussion.)

Anyone have a good one you want to share with? What did you hear from your partner?

So now you have your elevator speech. Have it ready, as St. Peter suggests. Because if people are asking you those questions, at the soccer field or at the party or at the office, they have a real need to hear your answer. A real need to connect with the HS in you. A real need to get some of what you’ve already got, what you talked about in your sharing.

Paul had his elevator speech ready for the people of Athens. Busy place where he only had people’s attention for a sound-bite’s worth.: there’s only one God, he wants you to repent and change your life, and he raised Jesus from the dead to show us how important that is.

But I think I like Jesus’ best: he left his disciples with these parting words:  love others as I have loved you. That’s an elevator speech we can all take to heart. 

No comments:

Post a Comment