akeelah and me

(i am still in d.c.-- home on friday!)

yesterday i preached a sermon in our "prophetic preaching" class. a prophetic sermon is meant to bring people to a decision, to challenge people, to stretch them beyond their comfort zones. they are not meant to make people happy or comfortable. originally we were not to have this class until 2008; but due to an emergency in one professor's family, the seminary switched the classes. we were to come monday, the first day of class, with a prophetic sermon. i tried to post it here but for some reason the library computer would not let me do it. when i get back to dallas i'll put it up.

the sermon went ok. it was a challenging topic, the war in iraq and our country's uncomfortable history with warfare. but the professor and class thought there was too much stuff built around the main subject. the sermon i will post here will be updated, based on their feedback. mine was the first sermon preached in the class, not a great preaching position to have. i felt bad yesterday, like i had let down God, who had given me a very strong word to deliver, and i missed the opportunity. this is not an unusal feeling for me to have after preaching.

after classes yesterday i decided to skip the revival at my friend's church in arlington, va.-- i wanted to be alone-- i'll go tonight. not knowing what to do, but knowing certainly that i didn't want to go back to the house, i decided to go to union station, where there is a cinema showing akeelah and the bee. i've been wanting to see akeelah for a few weeks, and i thought this was just the film to see. it is a wonderful movie, filled with a great message about community, willingness to transcend the limits of one's life, and what it truly means to be gracious, in a world that all too often rewards the ungracious.

while akeelah is training, her teacher has her read a quote he has on his wall:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -- Marianne Williamson

what a wonderful message, not only for akeelah, but for me, and for all of us when we are scared or when we think we have failed. if we do not expect greatness from ourselves, what does that say to God, who created each of us in God's own image? if you have not seen akeelah, go today. no, i am not too strong in my manhood to deny that i cried several times. at a pretty low point in my journey here, i was uplifted by its message of hope and grace.


DogBlogger said…
Keeping you in my prayers, Frank, as you encounter the unknowns in this journey far from home. Thanks for blogging it.

See you at Annual Conference.