Sunday, July 22, 2007
I've been preaching for many years. I know more about preaching than I did ten years ago, but I still find the entire process of sermon preparation, exegesis, writing, revisions and delivery mysterious.
There are some Sundays where I am fully with my listeners. They follow my voice so throughly that I am not sure that they breathe. I would never say this about myself if I didn't have many Sundays where I think I have wasted their time and mine by even attempting to proclaim and witness to God's Good News through a sermon.
I moved from a full manuscript in the pulpit to a detailed outline to a shorter outline and then on to five words on a note card before me.
At the past two Festival of Homies, I've noticed that the Big Name Preachers appear to use a full manuscript as they preach.
Considering this a discipline I might want to re-visit, I've preached from a full manuscript last week and today.
I felt constrained. I felt that I was falling for that hubris of loving my own words so much that I had to repeat what I've written rather than respond to the movement of the congregation.
I will use a full manuscript for the next two Sundays to see what I think about this process.
It would help if the congregation gave me any feedback at all about the last two sermons. They didn't say anything about the delivery but, as they graciously do, either asked more about a certain point or commented on an illustration.
I'm going to the Young Clergy Woman's Conference next month at the College of Preachers in Washington, D.C. I will keep my ears open for how I may evaluate my sermons to improve as a preacher. I'm reading Anna Carter Florence's new book, too, in preparation.
Despite the frustration of never feeling that I am a good enough preacher, I do like the mystery of preaching itself. One never seems to master it. There is no perfection or ending of one's abilities to talk about God through a sermon. I like this.
Looking at the picture of me illustrating this post, do you think I need a haircut?
Peace to You,
P.S. If any of you wisegals make a crack about my attendance at a Young Clergy Women's Event, I'll.... well, I'll... OH RATS JUST DON'T MENTION IT TO ME, OK?