To open a sermon about Moses’ time in Midian (Exodus 2:11-25), I quoted the great theologian Alan Jackson. His song “Chattahoochee” was one of my favorites back in the day. The song is a reflection of Jackson’s time growing up on the Chattahoochee River. Looking back on his time there, he came to realize it was a season in his life where he learned about life. It was a time he went from being a boy to being a man.

“Yeah way down yonder on the Chattahoochee
Never knew how much that muddy water meant to me
But I learned how to swim and I learned who I was
A lot about livin’ and a little ’bout love”

I imagined with the congregation that Moses would have had a similar reflection on his days in Midian. He probably didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back on it, his time in Midian was ordained of God. A time he went from being a spoiled, rich kid who grew in the palace of Pharoah; to being a “normal” guy, learning the ways of life like everyone else. Had Moses written a song like Alan Jackson, I wonder if it wouldn’t have gone something like this:

“Yeah way down yonder in the land of Midian
Never knew how much those trees and bushes meant to me
But I learned to catch a woman and I learned to be a dad
A lot about livin’ and a little ’bout God”

The purpose, of course, was to get the audience to lean in a bit in order to grab their attention. Just like any opening illustration, the goal is to get the congregation on board to take the “sermon journey” with you.

What opening illustration(s) have you used recently that helped your people engage with the sermon?