Earlier this year the automaker recalled my 12-year-old pickup truck. There was concern, the recall notice said, about possible rusting at a critical point in the vehicle's frame. About the same time, I heard a rumor that, if the rusting was bad enough, I'd be given a generous discount on the purchase of a new vehicle. My imagination lit up. On inspection day at the auto dealership, I hoped for lots of rust.
But when my truck was inspected, alas, no rust was found … on the frame anyway. This meant that my pickup is likely to remain with me for another 12 years.
When I told a friend about my experience, he commiserated and then asked if I had ever preached a sermon that needed to be recalled. He thought his idea was kind of funny, and I chuckled with him.
But later, I reflected on his idea more seriously. What might a sermon-recall sound like? I wondered.
"Dear Church. There were critical flaws in last Sunday's sermon. Please delete it from your memory. The sermon will be repaired this week and re-preached this coming Sunday."
This led to asking myself if I'd ever preached sermons that should've been recalled. And the answer was, sadly, yes. How many? Only heaven knows.
I've enjoyed telling the story of the preacher whose sermon cried for recall in every way. When he realized that he'd lost the congregation, he said, most piously, "There's more to be said on this subject, but Jesus is leading me to wait until another time." The congregation stood and sang, "What a friend we have in Jesus."
I think the first sermon of mine that deserved a recall was on the biblical view of sex. I preached it at age 24, which hints at the possibility of a ...