This Sunday will be our annual Google Sermon where we look at what have been some of the most searched for subjects over 2017 and ask what this means and says about our world. It was the great Baptist Preacher of the Nineteenth Century, Charles Spurgeon who taught his students to preach with a Bible in one hand a newspaper in the other. Today, he would have perhaps told them to still hold the Bible in one hand but substitute the newspaper for Google. In this ever-changing world where data now has a much higher worth than oil we can see a paradigm shift happening around us. How we move into that shift and adapt to a new era is a great challenge for us all.
This year’s Google Review is built around a series of 'how's'. It speaks both to the curiosity of people and extends to the compassion of the human race which is often seen at its best when life is at its worst. Of course, the macro view of billions of searches can leave us all wondering: so what? What difference does this make? In life society is moved not by the lone voice but the collective voice - when people gather together and become a movement for change. It is these trends that we are looking at in the Google Sermon. We are asking what they are - and what does it mean for the Church and its distinctive voice.
The role of the church is to bring context to life. It is to give understanding to feelings; transcendence to fear and interpretation to experience. We are here to listen, not judge - to allow people to be heard and then help navigate those experiences through a Christ centred worldview.
When the lady in the video says of her experience of the Solar Eclipse, 'It's emotional, I can't explain why but it is.' We have a voice into those emotions—we can speak wisdom into the experience. Too often we impose questions onto people that they no longer ask—what the Google Sermon does is look at what people are asking and then bring a pathway that helps navigate and make sense of those questions.
For those unable to attend Hope this week we will be Live Streaming the Sermon at 11.25am. You can join us on our Hope Church Nottingham Facebook page which you can find here - @hopechurchnottingham - be great see you either in the room or in our digital space!