Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just Reflecting .....

In the world of "be careful what you wish for" I hesitate even to think this let alone write it down, but I almost wish I were preaching this week. As was noted over at TLL, the texts are a plethora of riches. The problem would be which and what to choose. So that is part of it. But I also have kind of a rhythm going here. I have been preaching for three weeks running now in various venues, and I am finding it good. Not that I think I could sustain this over any kind of long run, not working full-time in an entirely other realm. But I do love having reason to really deeply engage with the scriptures in the way that preaching gets me to do. I know that I could choose to do that anyway....but let's be realistic! There are too many other calls and demands on time for that to happen week in and week out. So I have a "week off" pulpitwise, then I have another two week stint. I have to have a little giggle at myself here that the primary thing I am feeling is regret about this break in the proceedings. There was a time when the very idea of producing five sermons in six weeks would have driven me off the deep end. "I could never possibly!" I would have thought. But I can, I am, I will. And while preaching once or twice a month, which is a normal schedule for me is probably realistic, it's nice to know that if something changed that required more of me, I can do it.

We do grow into things. We find our way. Since I got my new computer, I've been organizing my sermon files. This of course involves opening some of them as I have to see what Sunday they are from (my identification system leaves something to be desired!) And once opened, I seem to have to read a little. Anna Carter Florence is so right when she says that you cannot help but reveal yourself in your preaching. I am written all over my sermons. Back in those early days I was preaching sermons that were well-grounded in exegesis and fairly impersonal, since as a new preacher that was clearly where it felt safest to be preaching from. They were ok sermons...a bit dusty and academic, but as I read them now I can see my own fear clearly revealed. It was clear that I was trying very hard to be safely tucked away in my head, my always and ever safe place! The one exception to that is the sermon I preached the week before my ordination in which I told my call story. It related to the lectionary, and I remember that I was scared that I was going "out of bounds" in some way and being too personal. As I read it now it takes me back to that time and place and still speaks not only of my journey, but of how we are all called to witness and ministry. It was, I think, still one of my best and most powerful sermons. Now as I write and wrestle with what is revealed in the texts each week, I can clearly tell when I hit a spot that challenges me. If there is something I really do not want to say, or that pushes me in some way that I find uncomfortable, I find myself reverting to "head stuff." The litmus test is if I am writing a sermon that bores me....it's time to stop and take a deep breath and ask myself what's up here!

This is just one place my head has been already this morning. I don't know if it's fall, the impending anniversary, or if I am just swinging back from that little spate of skimminess but I seem to be pondering everything suddenly. Where I am, where I've been, what I am called to now and next and how to live those two things in faithful and creative tension.

Well, for this morning, I clearly am called to get busy catching up on paperwork, seeing clients and doing the work that lies before me in this job. So I'd best get to it.

4 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

What good insights you're having. I think giving of yourself is a form of generosity. It shows your humanity and helps people relate.

mompriest said...

Preaching every Sunday is really awesome, even as it is exhausting...so you are right on both accounts. It is fabulous to ponder the text(s) and live with them and wonder where they lead you and then preach them on Sunday and see how it impacts people...and then there are days, weeks, months where you have to produce a sermon and you are just dry...dry dry dry...sigh...

the same can be true for the other areas of life we ponder...fruitful and filled with insight..and then dry...an ebb and flow - glad to hear you are in that flowing time of insight!

Rev SS said...

Thanks for sharing these insights.

I really missed the sermon prep and then sharing all the exciting insights the first six months after I "retired" Then, like mompriest put it, I began to find that same nourishmnet in the other areas of pastoral care in which I now spend the majority of my time.

Mrs. M said...

This is really an exciting post for me, Kate, and it's given me some leads. Thanks for your insight.