[The sermon is not my favourite form of communication; I don't believe it is very effective for teaching - and so I try to teach in pre- and post-sermon forms, such as story-telling and engaging with all five senses. But sometimes I am asked to preach, as I was last Sunday at St Philip's, and then I am content to know that the Holy Spirit is at work in people both during and post-sermon. And it is in this sense that I use the term in the title of this blog post...]
We were at the playgroup Christmas party in the park yesterday. Various people wanted to thank me for what I shared on Sunday. But one lady's story stood out. One of the things I'd talked about was the Australian capacity for resentment, and how Jesus can heal you of the hurts caused you by others. It turns out that the local council had done some work adjacent to this woman's property, and, as a result their fence had fallen over. Her husband had contacted the council, and asked them to repair it; I think they resisted at first, but in the end they sent someone out, who did a very unsatisfactory job. The husband wanted the work done properly, but the council were not interested: as far as they were concerned, they had done what was required and the matter no longer concerned them; they refused to speak to their tax-payer when he called...After church on Sunday this man told his wife that he realised he resented the council for what had happened, and had decided to forgive them, to drop the matter and do the work himself. The very next morning he had a phone-call from the man who had done the repair, admitting that he had done a sub-standard job, and asking if he could come and make it right!
I'd also spoken about physical healing. This same woman had had a piece of glass stuck in her toe for about a year; the doctor did not want to try to remove it, as that might have caused more permanent damage than letting it be, and monitoring it from time to time. In response to the sermon, she brought her toe to God. It had flaired-up, and she went to the doctor again. Taking an ultra-sound, they discovered that the glass had started to move, withdrawing out of the toe: she showed me a little blister that had appeared, where it will pass through the skin...
I love it when God brings things together like that!