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“Do you imagine that the scientist and the poet are not united?”

He would deliver a sermon unlike any he had delivered before.

“Do you think that because we have learned that the sun does not go down, that in fact we are going around it at a dizzying speed, the sun is not the only star in the heavens, do you think this means we are any less important than we thought we were? Oh, we are far less important than we thought we were, and we are far, far more important than we think we are. Do you imagine that the scientist and the poet are not united? Do you assume you can answer the question of who we are and why we are here by rational thought alone? It is your job, your honor, your birthright, to bear the burden of this mystery, and it is your job to ask in every thought, word, and deed, ‘How can love best be served?’ God is not served when you speak with relish about those who are poor in spirit and cannot be defended. God is not served when you ignore the poverty of spirit within yourselves.”

The sky was growing light by the time he put his pencil down. Reading the pages over, he discovered that he had broken a cardinal rule of homiletics. He had used the word ‘you’ instead of ‘we.’

He sat for a long time wondering about this, then he washed his face and fell asleep on the couch.

From Abide with Me, Elizabeth Strout’s novel about a minister and his congregation in late 1950s Maine. Link to the paperback is here, and the ebook is $3 for a time.

About Tom

ANCHOR COURSE LOGO Tom Goodman is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, and he holds a doctorate from New Orleans Seminary. He has served as pastor in Louisiana, north Texas, and overseas in Grand Cayman before becoming the pastor of Hillcrest Church in Austin, Texas. Diane and Tom have been married since their days at Baylor University, and they have two sons, Michael and Stephen. Tom enjoys scuba diving, watching the latest Netflix DVD with Diane, and chasing mis-hit golf balls.