Sunday, December 30, 2007

Soldiering On

I preached this morning at the little church in the Presbytery South of Here. Since I'm booked in for the next four weeks, I'll call it Daniels Run* Presbyterian.

Thrills and adventure arriving. As the crow flies, the church is close to two major divided highways. But by the lay of the land, it's in the back of beyond and the windy twisty roads can take you anywhere.

Especially when what you think is the church address is actually the number of the church secretary's house! So much fun driving up and down Daniels Run Church Road, attention split between trying to spot something, anything! that looked like a church and coming up with excuses and apologies for being late, when I knew it was my own fault, I shouldn't have hit the snooze alarm the second time this morning and why, oh, why did my dog have to lift his leg on the bookcase and the rug in the Kitten Room just as I was about to put my coat on and take him out to do his business anyway and put me even farther behind, but of course you can't tell a congregation you've just met that, it'll make them think you can't control your dog, for Pete's sake, let alone that you have no discipline about getting up in the morning, and-- oh! where was I?

Oh, yes, trying to find the church. Ended up going back down to the bottom of the road, to the feeder highway, to actually look at the Presbyterian Church Up Thataway sign and see how many miles it said I had to go. Vs. Google Maps' opinion, that is.

In the end, my being late didn't seem to matter. Most of the members got there after I did, and between coordinating the hymns with the organist (the same church secretary), getting the Christmas tree and the Communion Table candles lit (well, one of them), and so on, we got started around fifteen minutes past the time, which seemed to bother no one.

Singing the hymns was a further adventure. Good thing they were familiar carols. The organist is largely self-taught and does the best she can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean playing the notes when and for as long as written. I kept soldiering on, trying to give a lead, figuring that if she and I and the congregation came out together at the end of each line, we were doing pretty well.

So that was all right.

What wasn't all right was the feeling I had while I was preaching my sermon. It felt like nothing at all was happening. Nothing was coming back to me from the congregation. Or worse than nothing. It was almost the feeling I’d get if I’d been preaching a half hour and everyone wanted to get home and watch the football game. But I didn’t have a long sermon for them today. What was the problem? Didn’t know. I felt like I was just flapping my jaws. Couple of times, I found myself thinking, Is there any point in my going on with this? What if I should just stop?

But I told myself, No, I've got solid Scriptural meat and milk for them here, both pastoral and theological, and I have to lay it out for them whether they react to it or not.

Afterwards, there was one man, at least, who seemed very affected by what I'd preached. And everyone seemed very friendly and eager to see me next week.

So I guess you never know.

I just hope things loosen up during sermon time the next four weeks. It could be grim otherwise.


Sandy said...

Amazing sermon! If you have touched one, there will be more before your other three weeks are up.

Sandy said...

Hi! This is something that I thought you might like to listen to. It made me cry. All I could think of is "and a child shall lead them". This young man is wise beyond his years. Here is the path: