Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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Silence and Betrayal

At our church, we are engaged in something called "The Jesus Story Year" (www.JesusStoryYear.com)  Yesterday, the story of Christ was based in the tale of Joseph and his brothers from the last several chapters of the Book of Genesis.

I focused on the idea of betrayal.  Judah betrays his brother Joseph, Judas and Peter betray Christ, inevitably I betray Christ.  Not a happy topic, and also one that I was having a hard time with as far as figuring out how to communicate it.  How could I talk about the reality of betrayal, but also the truth of Christ's amazing love even to his betrayers?

Then on Saturday night (when all the parts of my sermon, which I have been playing with all week, usually come together) I was in my office praying when suddenly I thought of Silence.  Silence is a novel by Shusaku Endo, and one of my favorite works of fiction.  I have not read it in many years, but I will never forget the climatic scene.

I'm sitting at my desk and I think "I wonder if I could refer to Silence in this sermon?"  Then I wonder where my copy is.  I stand up, and without hesitation I walk to one of my six book cases and my hand goes directly to the book.  I felt that God was guiding me to this particular story.

I read from the book during the sermon, and you can listen to the sermon for yourself if you want to judge the effectiveness of it.  In any case, I do want to recommend this fantastic book.  Yes, I spoil the climax in my sermon.  But I think the book is well worth reading, and I don't feel that many readers will be surprised by the ending in any case. 

So, check out Shusaku Endo's Silence, preferably at your local bookstore, but also at Amazon.com.