Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Preparing a Sermon 

I've been asked to preach at my home parish on Sunday and up until late last night, I've had only the vaguest of ideas about what I was going to say. It's a hard day on which to preach, as it is the church's commemoration of the Holy Innocents, but armed with the knowledge from my preaching class, I feel like I can rise to the occasion. But, what to say? Yesterday, I was over at a friend's house and we were basically just shooting the bull for several hours when the conversation turned towards the church and my seminary experience. Now, these friends are not particularly religious nor do they have much time for anything to do with the church, but they seem to find what I am doing at least worthy of the occasional query. I mentioned that I had taken this preaching class and was really excited about all I had learned in it. They wanted to know how I went about getting a sermon ready and I told them that we were taught to prepare to preach with the Bible in one hand and the day's paper in the other. The conversation drifted hither, thither, and yon, eventually turning away from ecclesial and homoletical matters and after some time I went home. Round abouts 6 am I awoke, much to my chagrin, and got up to get a drink of water. On my way out to the kitchen the gears in my brain started turning and I grew frustrated because I knew that if I could not stop myself from thinking it would be a while before I could fall back asleep. I slaked my thirst and got back in the bed, but failed to prevent the ole neurons from firing. I was thinking about my sermon. I thought about how Taylor, Kate, Bunny, and I had discussed preparing to preach earlier that night. And then it hit me. I didn't even have to get up to look at the paper. I laid there for awhile discovering turns of phrase that would work their way into the sermon somehow and eventually fell back asleep. The next time I woke up, I went to look at the paper and there it was, right on the front page where I knew it would be. "Death toll soars above 55,000." The tsunami. Holy Innocents. The world into which the Christ Child was born. A world still in desperate need of a Savior. I knew on what I was going to preach.

"Tears are falling, hearts are breaking,
how we need to hear from God;
You've been promised, we've been waiting.
Welcome holy child.
Welcome holy child."
~ "Welcome to Our World", Michael W. Smith


I am also preaching on Sunday and I wish you all the best as you go about preparing.
I am also familiar with your preparation process and am frequently kept awake with thoughts that my brain will not let me sleep with.
I find it best to write the thought down and then I am able to go to sleep...
Happy New Year,

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 PM  

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