“And now,” begins Will Willimon, “we are going to engage in a daring activity. I’m going to try to speak for the risen Christ. And you are going to try to listen for a word from Christ in my sermon.” It’s called preaching. It is one of the chief ways Christians are encountered by God’s word. Still, it remains a mystery. Willimon says, “I know, from my years of preaching, that I’m not in control of the communication between you and the Lord. In even my sermons, God may speak, you may hear, and then our lives are made more complicated.” That dynamic of speaking and hearing, and its risks, is illustrated by this week’s reading from Acts 2:14a, 36-41: Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. It wouldn’t have gotten an “A” in a preaching class, but afterward 3,000 people asked to be baptized. What is God up to, in Peter’s preaching and in yours?
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