My man Steve plagiarized an amazing sermon for our church service. A few thousand years ago, a man named Jesus shared some razor-sharp insights on life, illustrated by the powerless bunch of have-nots who were surrounding him. It seemed unwise to add anything to these words, so we had our friend Steve come and share this sermon, which he memorized several years ago. It was amazing.
As he began, Steve’s presentation seemed to suggest Jesus as a bit of a nervous preacher. Which was a brilliant interpretive move; it offered a lively perspective on these familiar words, and put Jesus’ humanity and brilliance at the center of the sermon. This was no floatey Messiah with perfect hair—this was a gritty man slightly daunted by his mission and by the thousands of people following him around. As Steve continued, he flawlessly integrated the elements found all around him: the eucharist table, the bread, the room, his clothes, the audience, and the beam overhead. And at the parts which sometimes seem harsh or daunting, we saw only confidence and compassion (the comments about the man who builds his house on sandy soil were delivered with cracked voice and tears). All of which made me very grateful for Steve, but even more undone by these beautiful and powerful words.