The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

The Healing Power of Preaching

Saint Francis of Assisi, was an Italian Roman Catholic friar, deacon and preacher.  Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.  He articulates one of my favorite quotes, regarding preaching: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”  In this substantive quote, Francis illuminates how important it is that our words and our actions are aligned.  This charge has become the framework for my ministry, my life and my spiritual formation.

Over the years I’ve listened to, studied and watched countless sermons.  However, there is one preacher who has changed my life more than any other preacher in the world.  His name is, Jesus Christ.  Jesus was the living example of God, which Saint Francis got his inspiration from.  He was masterful at preaching to everyone, everywhere regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.  In all four gospels there are countless examples that separate Jesus from any other preacher.

This week, I offer you a prayer that has been my guiding light for years.  These words are more than just black ink on a white sheet of paper… They are truly words to live by:

 

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!

That where there is hatred, I may bring love.

That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.

That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.

That where there is error, I may bring truth.

That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.

That where there is despair, I may bring hope.

That where there are shadows, I may bring light.

That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

 

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.

To understand, than to be understood.

To love, than to be loved.

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

Amen.

 

Join us, this Sunday, as we explore how God’s light shines through the darkness of despair.

Compassionately,

Gary Michael

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