And I knew that I wanted to begin the series by talking about Broken Dreams and I also knew that I wanted to draw that message from the genealogy that opens Matthew 1. It’s a genealogy full of people whose dreams for life on this earth were rarely, if ever, realized.
Enter Fred Craddock, master orator of the Methodist tradition.
I remembered reading a Craddock sermon in which he described Matthew 1 and its genealogy as a “trip to Jesus’ family graveyard.” I love the “noun-ness” of that: think how much more vividly you can see a graveyard in your mind’s eye than you can see a genealogical chart.
And then I remembered hearing from some friends a few years ago that the Neely Slave Cemetery is located in the middle of SouthPoint Business Park, a mere 300 yards from the Good Shepherd campus. And think of all the broken dreams buried in a slave cemetery!
So the idea came: film the opening of the sermon with me actually in the Neely Slave Cemetery, making the connection between that family graveyard and the one in Matthew 1.
Now: my idea was for a static video; little more than me on a screen, delivering the first part of the sermon and then reading the opening seven verses of Matthew 1 before I’d continue that reading “live” in the Good Shepherd Worship Center.
Enter Chris Macedo, master singer/band leader/web dude/video artist of the Good Shepherd family.
Chris located the graveyard, set up the shoot, hauled the equipment, and then kept me out there filming for hours. OK, not hours, but an hour at least. All kinds of angles, perspectives, moods, and do-overs.
Then he spent hours (yes, for sure, hours) in an editing booth, adding music, arranging the shots, creating a vibe, and actually telling a story.
So it wasn’t just an opening to a sermon. It was — and is — a piece of art.
Take a look:
From there I kept reading Matthew 1 “live” and moved right on to the heart of the sermon which landed on this point: broken dreams don’t break your spirit when you believe in better.
And you wonder why I like working with the people at Good Shepherd?