Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What's our Pitch?

"Perception is reality" the old saying goes.  Changing how people see things can give them new incentives to  change directions and live a better life.  Transforming a world view can lead to all kinds of behavioral changes. If advertisers can make a pitch to make us think that we need something and then we go and buy it then they have done their job. I really don't need a smartphone, but somehow I have come to think I can't live without it. Their pitch worked.

The more perceptive among us may argue, is this not what we do when we get up to preach every Sunday?   Are we not working with a Biblical text to encourage our audience to see the world and God in different ways? Yes, we are. We are making a pitch.   This is one of the most important things we do when gather together in Christ.  We lift up the truth of God's Word so that people can open their minds and hearts to a different way of seeing the world.  This means seeing God and our selves through the lens of faith.  St. Paul wrote in Romans 10:17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. (NRSV)   We are using words to change reality.

As the Gospel does this, however so does the world.  Part of the reason we are where we are as a society today is that people have made their own pitch and many have believed it.  People have heard the pitch men and pitch women of the world claim that only material matters, or only what is practical is important, or it's all someone else's fault,  or they are not as deserving as you, or we are exceptional and others are not, or you can have whatever god you want.   The devil knows how to make a pitch, he's been doing since the garden.  The devil suckered Eve, and she suckered Adam.  Viral marketing is much older than we think.

However, the Word that Jesus is Risen, changes things for real.  The Gospel, that we can be part of the kingdom, has the power to renew our lives for the better.    Our most precious gift is the promise of the Gospel.  There is a single common humanity. Jesus became human to prove God is with us in our humanity.   Instead we believed the pitch of world and put him to death.   God raised Jesus to prove, that we will not be let go so easily.  God will love us no matter what.  We can be with God and others in wholeness and peace, even into eternal life.  We can love others by giving them hope.

Yes, we do give a Pitch, but this message does not belong to us exclusively, it is the province of God.  So our most important work at Holy Cross is tending to life of the Gospel in our congregation.  Proclaiming it to our neighbors, while living it out ourselves.   Our preaching will continue to be vital.  So I will do my best to make sure it sourced, prayed over, and worked at.  Because we are are making the Pitch we must remember that every word we speak matters.  We must keep in minds that  this is really not our Pitch, but God's, and its heart is: John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (NRSV)

We in the church will always hope in the Gospel. We will need to demonstrate the truth of our pitch by living it ourselves, so we need to feed the hungry, pray for the sick, uphold the dignity of those despised by society, and make a commitment to use our words intentionally  Indeed this is the day the Lord has made, and we are called to be glad in it.

Be blessed

Pastor Knecht