Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jesus and Justice

Last Sunday, I had the unique opportunity to speak at my church in Italy. It's a very small church -- not at all like the impressive cathedrals found all over Trento. Just a small store-front church near the city center with approximately 80 members. In spite of being so small, this little "evangelical" church is doing a lot of interesting things in the Trento community.

A couple of months ago, our church pastor asked me if I would like to preach one Sunday. I was pretty shocked -- I've spoken in smaller activities: in youth groups, youth retreats, and international groups, and sharing my testimony before church congregations but I had never been bold enough to deliver a sermon. My pastor explained that our church is trying to be more inviting to the international community, and since I'm already leading an international bible study, it would be a way to show everyone how committed the church is to inviting non-Italian speakers into their community. So I said yes.

"Is there anything in particular I should talk about?" I asked.
"No, just speak about whatever you'd like."

Hmm...Tough one. There are so many different topics and bible passages that are particularly interesting. In the end, I decided to try to explain the beginning of one of Jesus' most famous sermons where he seems to be dishing out a series of obscure blessings. There's a lot to digest in this passage, but one thing I particularly wanted to highlighted was how this small passage gets to the core of justice and what God thinks about it. This passage is a poem where Jesus beautifully outlines what God is doing for the oppressed and what he calls Christians to do about injustice.

So, I did it. I spoke in front of about 80 people, with Italian translation about a system of grace and justice that Jesus introduces.

So, if you want to spend an hour listening to my message in two languages, feel free to listen/download here. Please excuse my choppiness at times. I was trying to speak in an easy-to-translate way -- but I also get choked up at a few places.

Don't feel like listening? I don't blame you! I'll let you have the easy way out by reading my sermon notes. There are a couple minor mistakes that I didn't scratch out. I had a fun opportunity of using my HP Touchpad with the latest Android version and Papyrus. If you're a true scholar, then you'll listen to the sermon while reading the notes.

Or maybe you'd just look at more authoritative sources than me.

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