I have just finished a remarkable thing: a sermon!
Yes, folks, this lowly wanna-be blogger has just written her first sermon. I was asked to fill in for my friend, a pastor, while he’s gone on holidays one Sunday this summer, and with the encouragement of my husband I said yes. possibly my courage was falsely inflated by too much tea that morning. Who needs any other stimulant? Immediately I kicked myself for taking an opportunity to subject myself to the agony of writing something public that I must actually show my face while reading aloud to a large group, not to mention the holy weight that settled on my shoulders when I agreed to speak God’s word to his people. *
I am thankful for my church – for brothers and sisters who are willing to subject themselves to unpracticed, young, hesitant followers who are still trying their wings. I may be 31, but inside I’m still 17 most of the time, and the it’s a heavy responsibility to speak with authority on living the way of Christ. Ryan, I have a much more solid appreciation for what you do each Sunday morning up there.
I am also thankful for the external reason this gave me to really pick up my books, read some really good stuff, and then write about it. It was painful but delicious all the same. The first draft came like pulling teeth. I managed to get 5 short pages done, told my husband I was finished, and left it to cook on low for two days while I gardened, ran errands, made food, and loved my family. In between I managed to get in some reading and my daily Book of Common Prayer Bible readings. The rhythm and flow of “breath prayer**” I found to be invaluable. It brings my heart, mind, and soul together to one point, and I am much more aware of the movement of thought that happens underneath the harried and frantic motion of my immediate thought. I went to church this morning for the first time in a month, and was thankful to fall into the rhythms of prayer, song, and listening that comprise most of our Mennonite church services.
Tonight I discarded that first draft. It was invaluable, but it was not It. Tonight I knew, finally, what it was I had been trying to say earlier. And even if no one else receives from it, I have.
Although I still feel uncomfortable with calling it a “sermon”.
*Disclaimer: I don’t actually believe that God’s words are pouring forth from the preacher’s mouth. I’m being facetious. Brought on by being up waaaaay too late and doing something I feel is extraordinary.
**Check out Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. It’s a great introduction to different spiritual disciplines.