From the Introduction:
“Preachers, dig deep…”
Before I went to bed on the night of December 14, 2012, I took to Facebook and offered what I hoped was a word of encouragement to my colleagues:
Preachers: Dig deep and rely on your training. Your people need you to offer hope this Sunday. Don’t lose hope. Trust the truth of the Resurrection that we have been called to proclaim. I will pray for you fervently.
In the aftermath of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, preachers all over the United States were wondering how, exactly, they were supposed to preach joy in two days. How, exactly, were they supposed to do anything but weep?
Later, in a blog post, I wrote,
You are reeling, and you are wondering what you will say in the face of this massive tragedy because you just want to sit and cry and pray.
And that is good and natural, but, for you, that is not your calling.
You have been called to preach Hope. You have been called to preach Life. You have been called to preach Love.
The sermons, prayers, and liturgies you will find in this volume stand as a testament to the many women and men who dug deep, trusted their God, and offered the most hopeful word they could muster.
In some cases, these words are pointed and direct – even Job-like in quality. In others, there is a tenderness that places a healing balm on one’s heart. In all cases, however, these preachers responded to their communities and offered the word they knew the people they are called to serve needed to hear.
Let this collection – this archive of Christian practice – serve as an Ebenezer, that on December 16, 2012, when we were grieving and nearing despair, God was good to us, and gave us a good word to hear.
Landon Whitsitt, Archiver