My sermon this week was about Apocalyptic literature in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. In a nutshell, what I was saying was:
1) These texts have been mis-used in the last two centuries of Christianity. Interpreters have made claims to be able to "de-code" the mysteries of these texts, and then make pronouncements about "the end of the world as we know it". These readings of the texts very likely go well beyond the original purposes of the authors. To use these texts, and their strange and bewildering images to frighten people into accepting Christian faith is abusive.
2) A more helpful interpretation of the texts may be to say that they express the sincere hope and faith that no matter how unfair life may seem, or how difficult, that ultimately, God is in charge. We place our trust in God, and carry on living our lives of faith.
Next Sunday is Reign of Christ, or Christ the King Sunday. On the church liturgical calendar it is the last Sunday of the year. Following that, on November 29, we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. Traditionally the Church Year begins with the preparations for the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus.
The stores are way ahead of us. As I drove home tonight from the church, I noticed again the festive holiday season decorations and lights that adorn "Dorval Crossing", one of the malls I pass. Their decorations went up before Hallowe'en!
Inside the stores the transformation is even more evident. The pre-Christmas shopping season is in full swing.
As I make my preparations for the Advent/Christmas season, and ponder the new church year that is about to begin, I have questions about the future of the 5th Page.
I enjoy the opportunity to reflect further, and sometimes in a different or deeper way, on the themes I address in sermons. Very often I actually do have material that "did not make it into the sermon", that I think is worth sharing.
I have also experimented with doing other things:
-posting prayers that I have used in worship
-sharing the lesson I teach in the Sunday School class once a month
-posting the "Trinity Top Ten" hymn choices
-posting material I have written for worship services for Halton Presbytery
-reflecting on the discussions that have happened in the Re:Member class
Lately I have been wondering about trying to make the 5th page more interactive. I am not quite sure how to do that. Maybe I could take people's questions, and then try to respond to them.
It would be good to know what people think.
Is the 5th page still interesting and of use to you?
Are there some things you like better than others?
What would you like to see in the new year?
Would you like to submit some topics or questions for discussion?
Can you think of other ways we could make this more interactive?
I look forward to reading your feedback.