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God Hasn't Turned His Back

We can't fix our world's problems, but we can lament—and hope.

Back Story to the Sermon

(Editor's Note: Preaching Today asked Pastor Dan Meyer to tell use the reason he decided to speak about the shootings that took place in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas during the week of July 10th, 2016.)

On Wednesday night, I finished my sermon for the coming weekend—a meditation on the meaning of communion, based on Luke 22.

By Thursday morning, however, the national news had wrecked my heart and forced me to start rethinking the focus of the weekend ahead. I'd devoted so much time to the sermon already prepared. Could God actually want me to abandon all this? Did I have the energy for that? An encounter with one of my African-American coworkers, persuaded me that the answer was YES.

On Friday morning, one of my colleagues asked if we shouldn't consider redirecting the entire focus of the weekend services. In light of the recent events in our society, she wondered, maybe we should drill down on the biblical tradition of lament?

By Noon on Friday, I made the call to shift the focus of our services. A couple of members of our team began searching the Scriptures for what they had to say about the practice of lament. We eventually settled on the testimony of Ezekiel 9:4 and Psalm 13.

We opened up our services with a welcome that acknowledged the tragic, tumultuous, and confusing circumstances of the week.

We talked briefly about the biblical tradition of lament and explained that this would be our theme in worship today. To illustrate this, we read Psalm 13, changing the first person singular pronouns to third person plural.

We then invited the congregation into a time of silent prayer and reflection over what had happened this week, what we were each feeling about this, and what we wanted to express ...

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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church.us, a nondenominational, multisite church with locations in Oak Brook and Lombard, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Heartbreak and helplessness

II. A grace larger than our sin