I am already wondering what I am going to do! It is just a few weeks from Easter, that holiest day in the Christian year, that day in which everyone shows up! We will bring out extra chairs, have special music, and know that our sanctuary will be full.
The problem is the sermon! What am I supposed to say? I have been the pastor at Providence Baptist for 15 Easters! I have preached every Easter story at least 3 times. You would think that people would know it by now! Maybe this year I will use a different text -- perhaps Judges 11:29-40.
Can you imagine the uproar? People come to church on Easter expecting to hear THE story! It is one that every preacher feels compelled to use. We don’t tell it the same way from church to church; I won’t tell it the same way this year as I have before—but we will tell the story. We will tell it because it is important, because we need to remember it, and because it forms the center of our faith.
It is the same story, but we continue to tell it. That is what we do with the important lessons of our lives. Yet many times when it comes to lessons about sexuality we fall into the delusion that we don’t have to worry about that since we had THE talk.
It is not THE talk. It is a continuing conversation. It is a conversation that stresses different points—from parts of our bodies, to sexual intercourse, to setting limits, to values. These are conversations that take years to tell! And so we need to return to them over and over and over again. We need to do it for ourselves, but also for our families, for our world.
This year we are having one of those conversations again, the one concerning contraceptives. Many times in the past few weeks I have heard people say, “I thought we made this decision 50 years ago?” (I have said that myself!) But have we had it since? Have we explained that hormonal therapy isn’t just about birth control? Have we had the conversation that explains that married couples choose hormonal therapy in order to be responsible parents? Have we explained how using hormonal therapy is a way of caring for our world? Have we had a conversation about the ethics of contraceptives?
We did have this conversation 50 years ago and now we are getting to have it again. And we should! Can you imagine a minister who said, “I did an Easter sermon 15 years ago. We don’t have to do that again!” The important conversations are those we have over and over and over again. As we should!
(And no, my text for Easter Sunday is not Judges 11. It is John 20:1-18. If you are in Charleston for the Family Circle Cup come by. We are just down the street! How’s that for shameless promotion?)
Rev. Don Flowers has been the pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Charleston for 15 years and is a former Board Chair of the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.