Friday, May 14, 2010

Children's sermon for this Sunday--its a concept from Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling put into story form... get it? :)

Once upon the time, in the Kingdom of __(1)_____ there lived two squires. There names were __(2)_____ and ___(3)____. Now, in case you don’t know, squires are people who are training to become knights. To do this they learned to use swords and shields, learned how to put on armor quickly, and learned to ride horses well.
___(4)____, the Queen of __(1)_____ took a special interest in ___(2)____ and ___(3)____. In fact she so wanted them to succeed as knights that she gave them each a horse that she promised was there’s forever. Additionally she promised them that when they were ready she would make them knights.
___(2)____’s horse was ___(5)____ with ____(6)___ speckles. Her name was___(7)____. __(3)_____’s horse was ___(8)____ with a __(9)_____ __(10)_____ on the right side of his face. His name was ___(11)____.
Also knight __(12)_____, the most famous knight in the entire kingdom of ___(1)____, gave the two squires lessons on how to be a knight. They also rode their horses every day, practiced sword fighting and polished their armor.
Then one night ___(2)____ and ___(3)____ woke up to people shouting, “the stables are burning the stables are burning!”
“Oh no!” said __(2)_____.
They both rushed to the stables and found ___(7)____ and __(11)_____.
The two horses were scared and trapped—the only way to get them out was to get them to run away.
“We have to let them go,” said _(2)______.
___(3)____ replied, “I… I know…but… but…if we do that I’ll never be a knight and never see ___(11)____ again.”
“We’ll still become knights. We’ll see our horses again,” ___(2)____ replied, pushing a piece of wood away from ___(7)____. He slapped her flank hard, so that she would run away. And with that ___(7)____ was gone.
“I’ll never be a knight. I’ll never see ___(11)____ again,” ___(3)____ repeated and sent ___(11)____ off.
After the fire the two squires moped around for a few days. They frowned and thought longingly about their horses.
But after a time they began to get back to work. Knight __(12)_____ continued to teach them.
Still ____(3)___ continued to say, “we’ll never see our horses again, and we’ll never be knights.”
And just as often ___(2)____ would reply, “We’ve been promised knighthood and we’ve been promised that __(11)_____ and ___(7)____ are our horses forever.”
___(3)____ would reply, “that’s ridiculous… but I’ll still practice.”
And ____(2)___ would counter, “I will live assuming knighthood is coming and those horses are always ours.”
And so it went for years and years. They queen continued to watch the two squires from afar. And one day she said to Knight ___(12)____, “find those horses.”
And __(12)_____ traveled far and wide, from the __(13)_____ Ocean to the ___(14)____ Mountain. Finally, near the ___(15)____ cliffs Knight ___(12)____ noticed a ___(5)____... something in the distance. He climbed the cliffs and soon enough that ___(5)____ something turned into a ___(5)____ horse with ___(6)____speckles. And ____(11)___ was close by too!
Then one day ___(2)____ and ___(3)____ were called to the royal stables.
And there, amongst the horse droppings and hay, was queen ___(4)____.
She said to the two squires, “I’ve seen how you continue to train to be knights.”
And before she could finish ___(7)____ neighed from behind her, and the two squires saw Knight __(12)_____ holding the reigns of ___(11)____ and ___(7)____.
The queen continued, “You have your horses, and its time for you to become knights.”
Both squires broke into smiles and tears. ___(2)____ was confirmed in his continued hope in the promise that the queen had told him.
___(3)____, on the other hand, was at first ashamed, but then simply overcome with gratitude by the continued truthfulness of Queen ___(4)____’s promise.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Akedah as a subject for Apophatic contemplation

When I think about Genesis chapter 22 I am always struck by the threat to the promise found within these 18 verses. Everything that comes before—every promise, every salvation of the promise, every victory snatched from defeat—is laid bare with the command to sacrifice Isaac—the promised son.
God is the Promiser, the Faithful One who will bring about a new and amazing thing—bringing a barren couple out of their homeland and creating a new people.
Yet God is not the Promiser; God is the very threat to the promise, God will slaughter the very center of his promise. If God is followed the promise becomes a lie.
I affirm that God is the Promiser. I affirm that God is not the Promiser. Between these two statements—the cataphatic (positive) and the apophatic (negative) I find the God beyond god. I push through the meaning of these words and these concepts and am forced to wrestle with a God beyond description and peek behind the veil of language and experience, and hear on God’s own terms the words, “Abraham, Abraham—I am not that kind of God.”

Sunday, May 09, 2010