I hope you are enjoying the sermon series, “The Gospel of Willie.” It has been fun to meet some of the local singer/songwriters and hear their rendition of some of Willie’s original songs. Using these songs to help us shape our questions and then bring them to the scriptures has opened God’s word up in a new way for me. As well as inviting me to look at Willie’s original poetry differently. We all have beliefs about God, who we are and why we are here. But most of us have limited opportunities to think about those beliefs or to share them with others. I pray these four songs have given you a
I want to thank Garrett T. Capps for singing “Are You Sure” as we considered when and where God has called each of us and how we respond when we hear something unexpected or that we did not want to hear. The next week we heard Nick Long sing “Undo the Right” and looked at how God called Jonah to preach the Good News to people he didn’t like or want to be around. God calls us to commit all the way and even when we rebel and push away, God has a way of reaching us and using us.
On January 28, we will hear “My Own Peculiar Way” sung by Brady Dietert. This song/scripture combination has generated the most conversation and creative thinking of any of the songs chosen for this series. Some of you felt it was your song to God and an act of confession for when you had fallen short or mistrusted God’s love. Others felt it put words to how God’s love for them feels at times. Their relationship with God was often seen as very peculiar by their friends and even their family. God’s love does not follow traditional norms and expectations and at times we may even question if we would be better off not knowing what God desires from us. I would love to hear how laying this wonderful song of peculiar love next to the message of Jesus casting out the unclean spirit from a man over 2000 years ago brought “authority” to the teachings of Jesus for you.
The final Sunday is a communion Sunday. For me, communion is always a time of healing. I am so glad that D. T. Buffkin has agreed to sing Willie’s “Healing Hands of Time” for us. The scripture talks about Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law but then later sneaking off in the dark leaving people searching for him in the morning. God’s healing continues even while we are separated by distance or misunderstanding. We stumble along blindly trusting in someone or something bigger than ourselves. By laying this song next to these passages of scripture, we are reminded of God’s healing over time and space and that God is someone we can cling to, even in the darkest times. The final lines of Willie’s song are “I’ll get over you by clinging to those healing hands of time. I’ll get over you by clinging to those healing hands of time.” For me, those healing hands of time have always belonged to God.
We all have our own opinion about Willie and about God. Some of those opinions are based upon facts or personal experiences. Most are based on what others have told us or we think we may know. I hope that by bringing these gifts of song and scripture together, you have had a unique and personal experience with both. Maybe your opinion of one author or the other (God or Willie) has changed slightly. I know mine has. I hope you have been embraced by “the healing hands of time” and each week has brought a renewed sense of God’s presence in your life.
See you Sunday,