Sunday, February 17, 2008

Physician, Heal Thyself

To all you preachers who happen to read this blog:

Don't you hate it when you successfully deliver a sermon on Sunday morning, and by Sunday evening, you have to preach and apply it again to yourself?

This morning I preached on the faith of Abraham, and the trustworthiness of God even when we can't see the path ahead, even when the path ahead looks pretty dark and dangerous.

Well, I'd thought I could see the path ahead. Friday evening, the clerk of Session at the Daniel's Run* Presbyterian Church called and asked me to come and preach again next Sunday, and maybe do a baptism, too. She told me she'd call me back when she knew for sure about the baptism, because Session hadn't met yet to officially approve the sacrament (as is the practice in the Presbyterian Church). But I was booked for the 24th. Hooray!

So yesterday morning, I got a call from the worship committee chair of the church where I'm getting the piano. She also wanted me to fill in for them on the 24th, because their pastor is taking some time off before the run-up to Easter. Sorry, I said, I'm already committed. Some other time, perhaps?

So this evening, I was thinking about planning worship for the Daniel's Run Church this coming Sunday. And I was thinking how great it was, that the honorium I would get from them, along with what I received from Redeemer* Presbyterian today, would enable me to pay all my ordinary bills the rest of the month without dipping into my home equity line or credit cards again. Things in the immediate future would be good.

But a little over an hour ago, the clerk from Daniel's Run called. Not to confirm the baptism, but to let me know that the child's parents had decided to put it off till next summer, when the grandparents could be there.

Oh, all right, I said, I won't need to factor in a baptism.

No, actually, the clerk said cheerfully, they wouldn't be needing me at all. Their long-time unordained graduate minister, IrmaLou*, is back in the pulpit, and if there's no sacraments to administer, I, as an ordained minister, am not necessary.

I did not tell her I'd turned down another opportunity to preach next Sunday because I'd committed to Daniel's Run. I did not tell her I wished she'd made it clear that my coming was dependent on there being a baptism or not.

She, meanwhile, was talking on, cheerfully asking me how it had gone for me at Redeemer Presby this morning. And I'm thinking, please don't do this, I have to call the other church's worship chairwoman to see if they still need somebody!

I told her I needed to hang up, since I had my dinner in the toaster oven, and the timer had already gone off. Which it had. There was no point in tying up a nice big guilt bundle and handing it off to her. Nothing she could do about the situation at this point, now was there?

Soon as I could, I (disregarding the timer) got hold of the other church. Yes, they'd filled their pulpit for next Sunday. They got a very nice elder from a neighboring church. Oh. Right. Some other time.

But there I was, thinking I had it all sewn up for the rest of the month. And now there's a big hole in my preaching schedule and my finances for what I see as no good reason. Lord God, what are You leading me into? Don't You want me to be safe and secure and have everything pulled together???

And then I remember. Abraham. Leaving Haran, just like that. No clue at all as to where the Lord was leading him or where or how he'd end up. Just taking God at His word and walking out in faith.

Preacher, preach to yourself!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

It is hard sometimes to remember because you are only human.