I recently received a manila envelope full of Jim Munroe’s sermons in the mail. They are not recorded, meaning that reading them is the only way to dig into this man’s deeply insightful train of gospel thought.
For me, his sermon “Stuck” (January 14, 2007) is the stand-out of the whole batch, and I’ve been unable to shake both its imagery and theological acumen. I shared it recently with the Holy Cross Honduras Mission Team last month and also with Holy Cross’ Book Club members, and each group seemed to appreciate it too. Here’s a brilliant excerpt to whet the (theologia crucis) appetite, but the whole thing is really worth reading:
…The core miracle that informs our life in Christ is the experience of a change in human nature. Changing water into wine? A snap. Curing leprosy? Piece of cake. But a turning around in some basic aspect of how we think and feel and speak and act? There’s the miracle that makes God real.
Let me give you an example of why this is such a miracle. Because we’re talking about weddings, I want to describe a phone call I had some time ago. I was speaking to a friend who lives in another city. She said,
‘I knew when I walked down the aisle and saw him at the front of the church that it wasn’t going to work. But I kept walking. My mother told me not to marry him. My sister said it wouldn’t work. But I prayed that he’d change. I prayed that I’d change. I prayed that I’d wake up one morning, and it would all be different. And now I’m stuck. I need more faith.’
You see what I’m saying? We ache to be to be able to turn around in some basic area in how we think and feel and act. We yearn to get unstuck. And we think it’s got to do with mustering up more faith. My friend on the phone cried out for more faith.
And the miracle happens when we realize that this prayer will not be answered. The miracle comes when our own efforts fail in jacking up our own faith. Because it is in the midst of our failure, that we are encountered by a God whom we can trust. The trustworthiness of the love of God turns us around, as our own efforts to do so simple collapse…