I have just finished the third attempt at my sermon for Sunday on being a sacrificial community. It has proved difficult to write and I'm still not over enamoured with what I've got. Far easier was the study material on OT sacrifice and its relationship to atonement theology which I could basically lift out of books!
The easy path is to do grumpy skint minister impressions (actually impression is not needed, I am both!) and bang on about priorities, giving and so on. But it doesn't really achieve anything helpful. It is almost as easy to become a judgemental hypocrite and use the Amos passage 'I hate I despise your Mission Praise,' as one Methodist tutor I knew used to paraphrase it, to point out the disparity between Sunday and the rest of the week - but am I any better?
In the end I have a rather unsatisfactory approach that says that since the end of the Jewish sacrifices in the first century, we have a choice whether or not to sacrifice (from Latin: sacer facere, to make holy, hence, to offer to God) but that the demand for quality and the 'cost' (loss of self-orientated potential it incurs) remain valid. This probably works better at an individual level than communal, though it ought to apply to both. I end up with Romans 12:1-3 'living sacrifices' which suggests both 'corporate' and 'embodied' stuff.
It still feels rather 'shouty, shouty' as one local minister would put it, but hopefully H Sp will be active in weeding out my agenda to let people hear something apppropriate. Roll on Missionary Community and Mr Bosch's 'mission in may modes' which is just so much more preachable (I think...).