Since Pentecost, I have been reprising an old sermon series called iGod: Downloading Tunes from Heaven. Each week, we use a different musical genre to illustrate the assigned scripture lesson. Last week, we listened to, and I preached about, classical music, and the service began with an oboe piece played by our music director in which he accompanied himself on the organ. The special music was a classical piece sung by a member who has a glorious voice. The first week we used country music, and that was lots of fun, especially when Dolly Parton made a special appearance during the prelude.
This week is disco because, in most places, Sunday also is celebrated as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride Sunday. Disco is out of vogue, of course, but it played a big role in my generation’s life and, too often, death. Forever connected to the AIDS crisis, this is a day when we remember those who went before us and remade the world so that our LGBT children are welcomed into a yet imperfect, but vastly improved, world.
As I began working on Sunday’s sermon, I realized that disco is not the only thing out of date. I thought this would be an easy series to preach considering I have done it twice before. Not so. Thus far, my sermons from the previous times have been worthless. The multitude of ways the world has changed has made them feel more than dated.
I spent last week teaching a course on “Worship and Preaching that Grows Churches.” I love teaching at Hartford Seminary because it keeps me learning, working, and growing. As someone who has practiced his craft for four decades, the key is to have 40 years of experience, not one year of experience 40 times!
Those of you who listen to preaching know just what I mean, but what about your life? Are you having new experiences, growing, learning, expanding your soul every day, or are you simply repeating yesterday today? One is living; the other is existing. The thing about a “disco life” is that you just can’t stand still.
Rev. Michael Piazza