Preaching from ground zero

Sermons are like fresh vegetables: best consumed close to the garden. They tend to lose their taste when packaged for the mass market. These sermons collected from the days after September 11 were harvested and brought to the table quickly, so nobody had time to pretty them up. They have not fallen far from the vine. We can sense the press of the moment in the quivering voices and the stammering eloquence.

For me, the sermons that work best here are the ones that are rough and incomplete; that have jagged edges; that fail to summarize; that fail to comfort; that don't bring closure. The most helpful to my soul are those that give the heart a place to throw itself in the dust and mourn; that give the soul a place to stand and shout praises anyhow; that give our knees a chance to kneel; that give the tongue a chance to proclaim and to complain; that give tears a chance to fall.


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