I remember the first time I was invited to preach in my hometown and at my home church, Shepherd of the Hills, Triumphant Love’s twin sister congregation in southwest Austin. I remember it very well (and not just because there are a flurry of family photographs that documented it)! I remember it because it was a poignant milestone to preach in the very congregation that helped form my faith from roots to fruit. It was a beautiful moment, yet difficult nonetheless! It’s hard to do hometown preaching because these people who raised you in faith and see you standing in the pulpit can also remember the moments when your faith faltered or when you were chasing friends around the altar. They see you as Pastor Danielle standing there in your white robe but also murmur, “Is not this Danielle, the one who always wore all those weird 60s outfits?!?” I imagine Jesus felt a bit the same way that day he taught in his hometown Nazareth synagogue and heard the murmurs, “Is not this Jesus, the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon?”
This Sunday, TLLC’s own hometown girl, Cecie, will preach. I’d like to say I planned it, but instead it seems the Spirit decided she should preach in her hometown about Jesus preaching in his. I promised her a reception better than Jesus received and more like my own… so please don’t run her out of town! Though it is often difficult to hear the good news from someone we know so well, perhaps we will see that is because hometown preachers know us just as much as we know them! Join us this Sunday as we hear our hometown girl preach as well as give thanks for the gift of worshiping freely that so many others do not share.
The scriptures for this Sunday are Ezekiel 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, and Mark 6:1-13. Songs for this Sunday are #887 “This Is My Song” vs. 1 & 3, #579 “Lord, You Give the Great Commission” vs. 1 & 2, and #888 “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies”. If you are worshiping at home, bring something that reminds you of your hometown to your home altar!