Sunday, April 27, 2008

Old Illustrations, Fresh Ears

I know I've spoken about the preaching quite a bit since I got here, but truly, we have bishops who are excellent speakers.

On Friday we heard from Bishop Joao Machado of Mozambique. He spoke Portuguese, so we listened with an interpreter (one of the joys of General Conference is having several languages spoken!). He said he was somewhat embarrassed to get up and talk after all of the wonderful sermons and addresses we had had so far.

But then he said he knew of a preacher who came to a church whose reputation was that they "looked inward" and not out at the world. He said the pastor preached a very good sermon about going out and doing something about the problems right outside their door. He received lots of wonderful compliments that day. The next Sunday he came in and preached, word for word, the same sermon. People were taken aback and thought that perhaps he had gotten mixed up. Not wanting to embarrass him, they didn't say anything except to thank him once again for the wonderful message. The third Sunday, when he preached the exact same text and the same sermon, the church leaders went to his home and asked if he was aware that he was preaching the same sermon. He said, "Until you show me that you can put into action the words I am preaching, I'm not going to change my sermon."

I don't know whether I identify more with the preacher or with his congregants sometimes.


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