Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sermonizing

I was really excited to be preaching at camp again this summer... until about 2 weeks ago when my ideas stopped sounding good to me.  Writing my first two sermons this summer felt really forced, like I couldn't quite grasp what I was supposed to be preaching, and nothing I planned felt right.  Both times preaching (especially the first time at staff Galilean) I ended up feeling in the moment that God was guiding my words.  So maybe God is trying to teach me to be more spontaneous, more in nimble in my discernment of what I'm supposed to be doing and saying.  But I don't like that.  I like to have an outline that feels right.  I want to go in knowing what I'm supposed to say.

Usually when I am preaching during camp, I have an idea for a sermon by about Wednesday, and by Saturday it is has taken shape in my head into a fully formed sermon that just needs to be written down.  I like it when that happens, because I don't really have much time during the camp week to do sermon prep.  Yesterday as I picked up books for inspiration, all I knew was that I am feeling led to preach on ecclesiology this summer (what it means to be the church).  So I walked into the staff lounge, ready to read and struggle, and another staffer, Leo, asked me when I wanted him to preach.  He's a student in seminary to be a Catholic priest, and I had previously asked him to consider preaching this summer but we hadn't nailed down a date.  I joked that this weekend would be great, but I wouldn't do that to him, and I was surprised that he seemed to be ready to preach.  I was hesitant to have someone preach on a day's notice (although my first time preaching at camp was on a day's notice), but he seemed to have been mulling over his sermon idea already... so I went with it.  I think that was the Spirit's leading?  Or maybe I was just tired?

Anyway, this morning I came to worship relieved to not have to preach.  I led the first part of the service, but because I was not thinking about my sermon I was able to really relax and get into the songs.  Amy, our music leader, played "It Is Well With My Soul" and something inside me just clicked.  Leo started preaching right after that, and within the first two minutes of his sermon I had a sermon for next week (mostly unrelated to his sermon, but I swear I was paying attention).  So... I guess the Spirit knows what the Spirit is doing.  It took a few minutes in worship for me to reconnect.  And the sermon today was on prayer by the way.... go figure.  I wish I could remember, when I am frustrated by how my sermonizing is going, that I need to spend some time in prayer and worship to get going again.  Duh.

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