There is a running joke among preachers that if the lessons seem too tough to tackle, you can always “preach the collect” or, in the absolute worst case scenario, “preach the Lord’s Prayer.” I’ve preached the collect a time or two, but never have I been so bold as to preach the Lord’s Prayer.
During the time of Elijah’s ministry, while the LORD was particularly angry with Ahab and his Ba’al-worshiping wife Jezebel, God shut off the rain in the fertile crescent for three years. It was a drought of epic proportions. It was a mess in those days, and people were hungry everywhere.
On August 1, 2009, The Mobile Press-Register published an article written by Greg Garrison of the Religion News Service entitled, “Heaven? Sure. Hell? Not so much.” Shortly thereafter, a parishioner of ours brought in a copy for me and wondered aloud, “Why don’t we talk about hell any more?” It just so happened that the answer to his question appeared in the teaser quote right at the top of the article.