I so wanted to preach a nice little Hanukkah sermon to you today. You know, a sermon that talked about the miracle of the lamp oil. Maybe it would teach a little history about the Macabees and how they resisted the forces of evil so that they could practice their faith. It was going to be a nice little sermon, really. Then Wednesday happened, and there we were, forced to face another mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino, California. And I was faced with the decision whether to preach my nice little Hanukkah sermon, or to shift gears and find a way to address the horror of what happened. I was talking with one of my daughters about making that decision, and she said to me, “Dad, belonging to your church sounds exhausting.” And I took that observation seriously. Because I am guessing that many, perhaps most of you came to church this morning in search of some solace. In search of some consolation. In search of some comfort and, maybe, a little escape. And perhaps you were hoping for a nice little sermon about Hanukkah.
Well, if that’s what you were hoping for, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be meeting your expectation. Because as I considered my daughter’s remark, I have to say that it’s not our church that’s exhausting. It’s the world. The world is an exhausting place to live. And like it or not, what happens in this world comes right in through those doors and into this Sanctuary. And so, we need to face it head-on.