Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Good News...and Then Some

It was so, so good to be back in worship--with full electric power--last Sunday. For that matter, I enjoyed our post-Ike service September 21 with the generators provided so generously by Greg Carlson. It was the first--and hopefully last--time I ever preached on a karaoke machine.

This week, we'll interupt our Sermon on the Mount series for our quarterly observance of the Lord's Supper. Our text is Matthew 20:28, and we'll be exploring the concept of guilt.

In Shakespeare's McBeth, the character of Lady McBeth is so guilt-ridden, she obsessively washes her hands. The Bard may have been more perceptive than we once thought. Psychologists have identified what they call "The McBeth Effect," which causes people who are feeling guilty to also feel physically dirty. I am sure all of us can identify. We've all done, said or contemplated things that left us feeling as though we were covered in a film of filth. Sadly, most people think of organized religion as being an institution that fills people with guilt, instead of freeing them from it. Even more tragically, many people think of God as being a purveyor of guilt and shame. Is this true? Does God want us to feel badly about our sins? What are we to do when we feel the overwhelming desire to be clean? If you aren't asking those questions yourself, it's likely someone you know is. We'll talk about it this Sunday.

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