20+ years since I started preaching, I am constructing any portfolio to be recognised as a local preacher in the Methodist Church.
One item asks questions about how we talk about "salvation", and as a result I found myself digging out the dissertation I wrote for my BA Hons. in 2010!
I haven't re-read it all the way through in a very long time, but am "self-referencing" in the portfolio piece, so want to make sure it's somewhere accessible for those assessing the portfolio to read!
But the real question is: Would I write the same thing again?
I was reading a reflection on the Mark 14 passage where Jesus was anointed by an unnamed woman. Do you remember the story?
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
The reflection I was reading pointed out something I probably should have known before, but seeing it this time transformed my understanding of what's going on in this passage.
Part of my Methodist Local Preacher's course entails various portfolio pieces in various media. Here's one of the questions I have tackled recently:
Produce something in a verbal medium (poetry, a talk, a meditation, a PowerPoint based on words) that you could use: (a) to share with a group what ‘calling’ means to you; and (b) to help them reflect on what 'calling' might mean to them.
Part a: Sharing what Calling means to me (in the medium of Poetry):
I've got the rare opportunity to do a 2-part series with one of the churches in the circuit. They're a smaller congregation, but the are faithful, and active, and proved to be excellent company yesterday morning.
Part one, yesterday, was titled "Mountain High", and in a few weeks I'll be back to do part two "Valley Low."
Let us take a moment to thank Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell for the title:
Part one, of what I'm sure will be thousands of confessions of bad habits I have... And why this one is making me think about worship.
This one isn't about my inability to regularly update my website, nor my consistency with producing coherent thoughts or words. It's not one of those deeply personal issues to do with toilet seats or nail biting. This one is all about books.
Even then I'm going to have to narrow it down, otherwise we'll be here all day. I'm not here just to confess my tendency to turn down corners of pages instead of reaching for a bookmark, nor my habit of buying books based on recommendations knowing full well that my "to read" list is more than long enough, nor my tendency to start umpteen books at once.
This one is about my inability to finish a book...
This morning's sermon for my trial service to become a Methodist Local Preacher "On Trial".
While I have been preaching for a while, I'm not officially qualified to preach within the Methodist Church. This is the second level (should I pass following reflection on today's service.).
Tried to do something different with this one. No point in staying with what's safe, or sticking to what I'm good at... The chance for feedback was too good!
It's embarrassing. I have no idea what I'm supposed to be asking for forgiveness for!
It was a simple enough question really.
"In Jesus' encounter with the woman of Samaria at the well, what does Jesus mean when he talks of worshipping 'in spirit and in truth'? What does that look like for us?"
Some of you might not be aware that I've started the journey into becoming a certified Methodist Local Preacher. It really is as exciting as it sounds.
I met with my tutor earlier this week, and one of our discussion topics was the following quote from John Killinger (1985; Fundamentals of Preaching, London:SCM):
Remarcable is one man blogging about Youth Work, Theology, Family, Life and those other random things that come to mind.