Meeting God at Night | Sojourners

Meeting God at Night

Asa Merritt's fictional podcast “Six Sermons” has themes that can feel as apocalyptic as an invasion of body-snatchers.
The image shows the cover of the podcast "Six Sermons," which shows a red car and a church with a tall steeple in the background.

PASTOR ALEXIS (narrated by Stephanie Hsu) is a recent divinity school graduate who has been hand-selected by Pastor William Hoyt (voiced by Bill Irwin) to succeed him at Trinity Grace Church in Ohio. Alexis has been working alongside Will, learning the rhythms and rigors of pastoring a small-town church. She’s young, radical, and fearless. These qualities — the very reasons Will chose her — are exactly what make a significant and influential portion of the congregation certain she’s the wrong choice. Then Will dies by suicide. Alexis is thrust into the role of lead pastor far sooner than she expected, and in apocalyptic conditions. All this is merely the first episode of Six Sermons, a 12-episode fiction podcast written by Asa Merritt (a journalist and author of the 2015 play True Believer about the Arab Spring).

Six Sermons is the story of how Alexis navigates this intense crisis: How will the cause of Will’s death impact the congregation? What should the memorial service entail? How is Alexis caring for her own mental health in the wake of her friend and mentor’s death?

Alexis, in particular, experiences God’s absence acutely. Six Sermons powerfully illustrates the humanity of pastors; both Will and Alexis are raw, vulnerable, and flawed. Early in their mentoring relationship, Will tells Alexis, “You don’t really know God until you meet him at night.” This is a story of meeting God at night.

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The image shows the cover of the February/March2024 issue of Sojourners, which is red with a cubism Black hand wearing a blue shirt holding a tennis racket.
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