Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Morning Preacher: Killing the children

If tomorrow were as clear now as it will be tomorrow night, we would probably presume on its joys or be distracted by its sorrows...Our life is so constituted that we must live by venture.

Great quote, huh? It's from my beloved Interpreter's Bible 1952, the exegesis on Matthew 24:36: "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

I especially love that word "venture," and had all sorts of thoughts about where to go with it. There's venture capital; what is the equivalent when what you venture is your life? And how does the word "venture" illuminate the season of Advent with that same Latinate "vent" in it? And then "adventure"! And maybe talk about the Harry Potter movie...Oh, man, I was having a great time!

But it just didn't fit. Did not fit. Could not make it fit. And so I had to lose it: this quote from the Interpreter's Bible, the word "venture," the word play, the Harry Potter reference...all gone.

A friend of mine calls this "killing the children." And it feels that way--these little brain babies that you gave birth to, all gone. But what is left isn't about my little brain babies, but about the message I want to convey. There was still a message about venturing forth, about adventure, about Advent. But it didn't get all tangled in a passel of my kids running around unsupervised.

I realize now upon writing this that I haven't really killed the children at all, just internalized them. They were all there, informing the sermon. They just weren't running the show. God willing, it made for a more coherent message. And who knows? These children may grow up to be their own full-bodied message someday.

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