Computer probs plague our household this week.
I drove to church on Sunday not sure what to expect. It’s not that I know what to expect any Sunday because I never do. General expectations may come to mind but the "what will happen today" expectations are unknown. I knew we were celebrating the Lord’s Supper but I was unsure if the Altar Guild of One remembered so I stopped to get po-boy bread and a four pack of tiny Welch’s cans.
I’ve prepared the sacrament once for a congregation. Churches are so good at having things ready that I’ve fixed the cups and trays one time. Sunday I was unsure about the planning so I carried my own supplies as well as my lil’ communion kit. The kit is a small black case with a plastic bottle for grape juice and box for bread along with disposable cups and a little plate. I hoped to take the sacrament to a family of shut-ins.
Earlier in the week I read again the communion information from our Directory of Worship. Bread for the sacrament may be what is appropriate locally. If wine is served then grape juice should be provided so that people have a choice. Disposal of the elements after the sacrament is to be respectful and what the Session agrees upon. Order of service for the sacrament is outlined with scripture cites. The D of W has a great deal more information about the sacrament.
The drive to church showed more signs of spring with wild trees blooming, fields becoming green and the roadside weeds blooming. It is the loveliest of drives. Hardly any traffic on an early Sunday morning so one can browse the fields and pastures to see cattle, sheep and goats along with fields of green. The road follows a canopy of trees for several miles so that the light and shadows in early morning are so beautiful.
I arrived to find the Lord’s Supper ready. Beautifully ready. The Altar Guild uses real linen cloths ironed to perfection. Fresh flowers from her yard were arranged in a vase for the pedestal.
I wish that I’d been ready. I was the hold up. My sermon was the pits. I have been muddled for the past couple of weeks and that muddling has affected my sermons. Proof of this was shown in the congregation’s faces and in my own regret on the drive back home. What’s the problem? The Gospel texts have been very long for the past weeks. Verses and verses and verses. I’ve had two Sundays of doing more teaching than preaching. Ask me later what the difference is. I studied the texts to make sure I understood, as best I could, what was going on and then couldn’t seem to condense my thoughts or focus on one verse or another. Just all of the verses which makes for poor preaching when long texts are used. I’m not a verse by verse preacher because I’m not a verse by verse hearer. The tale of the whole interests me, not piece by piece.
I’m facing another long Gospel text for Sunday. The story of Lazarus in John 11:1-45. I am considering using v.35 " Jesus began to weep"(NRSV) as my focal point but it’s Wednesday morning and the process/study/exegesis is not finished enough to know yet.
Focus, Rev. Mrs. Casserole. Focus!