I remember the day Lady Diana died, having to put together my radio show to respond. The same the day after the Omagh Bomb. Those were hard emotional shows. I felt that same strain on Sunday morning as I had to preach a few days after the Uk voted to leave the EU. I would love to have ignored it BUT Fitzroy never ignores it. The preacher's role is to bring the Biblical text to the context of the times and I had to somehow make sense of the events still unfolding as I preached.
My own emotions could not be kept unchecked but I had to try as hard as I could to rein them in. I was speaking to a divided UK, a divided Northern Ireland, a divided Fitzroy, divided families and even people divided within themselves. In the state of shock and with so much sadness it was time to be pastoral as well as attempting to be prophetic.
I had in the 24 hours beforehand spoke to members of the congregation whose jobs were now not the line, teens whose study dreams were not in tatters, twenty somethings talking about moving to Canada, many concerned that the EU funding that had built our peace might be lost before that peace is finished.
The context was somber. I asked that we were sensitive with one another.
The Lectionary text was Luke 9: 51-62. The first part if perfect. Damning those who do things against you was not Jesus way! The second part is about the challenge, commission and warnings to three people keen to follow Jesus. Jesus was at a pivotal moment in his ministry. We are in a pivotal moment in our history. How to bring this text and our context together was a tricky one...
If you follow this link Fitzroy Sermons and then press on "2016 06 26 am: Discipleship… Hand to the Plough… No Distractions."