GOOD AND BAD SPEECHES
Public speaking is a big challenge and many a bad speech and sermon have been delivered. I recall attending a church in Canada while on a holiday visiting Jane’s sister and the preacher was so bad I came so close to telling him on the way out that it was unprepared and appalling. Probably best I didn’t. Over the years I trust I have coped with public speaking adequately and I certainly admire listening to great presentations.
The other day I picked up a book I had in my shelf at home, on the great speeches that have shaped the world. They included speeches that went back as far as Moses in the Old Testament with his speech presenting the 10 commandments. It included one from Jesus. It went on to include a number from our own day, including great people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa …etc. Naturally what made them great was their ability to capture an accurate way of referring to an issue of the time and with wisdom describing a clear and insightful path forward.
Of the Jesus speeches they included the one we call, the ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their’s is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn……
Blessed are the meek …etc.
I believe several others could very easily have been included from Jesus life. The speech from just before he died speaking of the unity of all people with one another and God recorded in John 17 and called the High Priestly prayer is hard to put down or not want to read it over and over again. But at the other end of his life, the speech that inaugurated his mission is truly inspiring.
It is the one we have just read based upon his interpretation of Isaiah….
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Then he began to say to them “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
We could say that this was Jesus mission statement. It cuts to the heart of his attitude to people. And with that, God’s attitude to the brokenness of the world.
We are so used to mission statements, inauguration speeches, state of the nation talks from our Politicians. One might say that we are becoming cynical of them for they have often become self serving, trying to appeal to voters, but for all intents and purpose, they fall away under the demands of needing to preserve power.
Such speeches could be said to be the self-determining measure of performance. This is the statement by which speakers are declaring that they want you to measure their performance, and this is why we have become cynical. Rarely do public leaders remain faithful to their vision.
For today this is our point of difference. Jesus declared his mission as compassion, liberty and healing for people. Would anybody claim he failed his own dream? I believe not. In fact, he has inspired so many to embrace this compassionate pathway for themselves. It continues, 2000 years after his first public speech in Nazareth.
As Christians we have each responded to something about Jesus. I would ask if you were to think deeply about what truly, mostly inspires you in you faith.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
People are likely to talk about new years resolutions yet who keeps them?
On the other hand in the footsteps of Jesus maybe there is something really important in identifying something from his life and teaching that is really relevant and inspiring
to you in your faith journey this year. Dare we think seriously about something we are prepared to commit ourselves to this year. It would be our own self-evaluating mission statement.