Telford Work closes this book,Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, a series of ruminations leading to themes in the Lord’s Prayer, with three sermons under the chp title “Amen.”
Each is in some sense a response to 9/11, each in a different way.
#1: Work ties the story of Jonah to John 3:16. An insightful angle informs the whole: We are temtped to think, perhaps, that God is the strict one and that we are the kind ones. John 3:16’s famous “God so loved” opens up an angle on Jonah. For in this story God is the one who has compassion and Jonah, who represents the exclusivist people of God, is the strict one.
Any thoughts on this angle?
#2: In August of 2004 he preached about generosity and how to win in the election no matter what. His point: that hope can breed generosity in the midst of evil. Why? Because God is our Father and our lives are different. He captures the message of Revelation for the time of election. We need this. I will turn to this little sermon during the next year as we listen (endlessly) to the promises and hopes and apocalyptic warnings.
#3: Joy challenges a culture where sadder is cooler, wiser, deeper, and greater. Paul, Work sketches, is a joy machine. The Transfiguration sounds the note of joy in a world of gloom. Joy is reasonable, it is varied but not artificial, it is obvious but not forced, it is enouraged and disciplined — and it is central to the Christian’s identity.
Again, next week, we begin Edith Humphrey, Ecstasy and Intimacy.