Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Best Sermon Series Yet

The sermon series on Judges is finally over. And it is all available online. In my opinion, it is the best team effort from Jubilee so far. When it was picked, I already envisaged the tough passages like Judges 19 being hard to deliver, especially to a youthful audience. But I felt that even tough obscure biblical texts deserved to be heard. At least once in a lifetime. In the end, I think we did a good job respecting the text and applying it well into the listeners' life.

The series began with a promise:
"This year, I made a new year resolution. I want to be more honest and authentic than ever before. I want to be more honest with others, but more importantly, I want to be more honest with myself. To be fair, I have never considered myself to be fake or a phony. One look at my simple appearance and you know that I’m too comfortable with my self-esteem to bother putting up a false pretense. Still, I think there are different levels of commitment to being honest, and perfect honesty is not easy because it means being vulnerable. However, authenticity is also a necessary ingredient for any relationship to go further, and that is a no pain no gain deal. I think I am ready to go deeper in the pursuit of better relationships in my life. To be honest with others, with myself and with God, and hence explore the relationships further."

And by sticking to the truth from the gut, and reflecting without reserve til the end, I feel pride about the entire endeavor. Some of my final words after 9 months of struggle with Judges:

"An American writer once told this story, “There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”1

The point of this story is that the most obvious and important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. Our perspectives are so natural to us that we often fail to notice them. Like water to a fish, you seldom think about it even though you may be immersed in it. We assume our perspectives are true, and we take that for granted. As we go through this sermon series on Judges, we have intentionally looked into some of these realities and reflected on them. These realities include basic human instincts like fear and greed, and also the nature of our relationship with God. For these moments of introspection, I am immensely thankful. Sometimes, we just blindly go about our lives, day in day out. Even coming to church is a routine affair. Taken in this sense, we are really no different from the people living in those times of Judges. We are just doing what we think is right. Like them, it is hard for us to realize the water we are swimming in. But this awareness of the water is the most fundamental reflection that we must do on a regular basis, and it is my topic for today. "

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