So familiar it’s no longer shocking

I have a confession to make.  Years ago I watched either the first or second season (or maybe both) of the CBS show Big Brother, but to my credit I haven’t watched it since then.  It was basically watching a bunch of strangers try to get along while living in a house together – a house they could not leave until kicked out.  It had surprise and shock and conflict that would come naturally under these circumstances.  But as is the case with most reality TV shows, they have to get more surprising and more shocking or it is no longer surprising and/or shocking and people quit paying attention.  Need I go on?  You get the point I’m making.

This week as I’ve been working on the message for church on Sunday, it has hit me how we have the same problem with God’s Word.  It’s so familiar that it’s no longer shocking.  Son of God came to earth, born of a virgin, lived the perfect life, died on the cross paying for your sin and mine, rose from the dead defeating death for you and me, went back to heaven and is waiting for us there.  And until then, the Gospel is in your hands.  Amen.  No longer shocking, nor surprising, and definitely not new.  It’s the same old story.

Sunday I’m speaking about the widow who inadvertently put the wealthy/religious people to shame with two coins worth less than a penny.  We’ve heard it and read it so many times it’s no longer shocking.  As a pastor, I ask myself what creative way can I preach this text so that the people won’t be bored hearing it for the umpteenth time.  And that’s the plight pastors find themselves in.  So as a pastor, I must rely on the Spirit to make an old story fresh to the hearers.  And all I can say is, “Whoever has an ear, let them hear what the Spirit says…”  It’s really very shocking.

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