Sunday, October 10, 2004

T.S. Matthew and the Gospel of Luke

I am monitoring T.S. Matthew this morning. I'll be on the road to my church through three Mississippi counties under the tropical storm warning (means conditions are coming within 24 hours) by 9 am. We've had drippy rain for two days now which delights the trees. Conditons have been dry around here even with Ivan's brush past us in September. Now, we get the rain. I suppose all will be well but tornados are possible with all wind.
I'm ready with my sermon on Jesus and the healing of the Lepers in Luke 17. I hope the sermons says what needs to be said and that my words don't interfere with what the Spirit means for the congregation to hear. I never seem to know how my sermon will go. After all these years of preaching, I stand up in the pulpit and give myself over to a task which seems archaic (standing and yapping for 14 minutes solo to a culture who rarely listens to lengthy monologs), scattershot (who really knows what is going on with the congregation--are they distressed, hungry for clarity, bored, what?) and how much of me and my stuff interferes with the process of preaching. Preaching reminds me of jumping into a pit of water without knowing the depth or current. I prepare for this but I stand without a life jacket or much of a clue and dive into the water.
A compounding problem, and I am not sure if this is a problem but I think about it often, is that I worry about being entertaining. I cannot stand glib sermons. I don't want to preach this way but because I am so happy to be in the pulpit, I worry that I am glib. My call is not to entertain but to open up the scriptures in a way that the Gospel is heard. My strength as a speaker seems, at times, to be my weakness as well. Despite my contention that preaching should never be boring or dour, I don't like happy slappy preachers much and I worry that I am in this category.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord Our strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

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