this weekend was amazing.
I wrote most of my sermon on Friday, as we had a denominational event all day Saturday. What I wrote wasn't really what I planned on, but I read it to my beloved and she thought it was pretty good, so I kept it. I had not idea, though, where it was going to lead me--the writing, the Spirit, the muse of God!
So, Saturday was so fun because I got to pull out my dusty djembe and drum with a group for the worship service. It was fabulous and delirious. If you have never had the opportunity to learn drumming, and always wanted to, you should. It really sinks into your body and raises your energy....and our leader was terrific. Very gifted in creating community (none of knew each other) and pastorally leading a group of gifted and experienced drummers with those of us that weren't as confident. I just loved it.
Then, I got home around 8, and tried to sit down to write, but my hands and fingers were numb--I sort of overdid it, and it was hard to type. I worked until 10 or so,and I wrote about six sentences...and couldn't go on. I went to bed, quite nervous about not having an end to my sermon, but I was depleted--physically and mentally. So I got up at 4 to finish things up, which it just came together...and I had time to edit it a couple of times, and I felt good.
The passage was Luke 16:19-29--The rich man and Lazarus. Not something easy to preach on--privilege, affluence, the Great Chasm.
So, Sunday was typically busy before worship, greeting people, making coffee for my CE staff, the youth and committed adults were in the large kitchen making 150 lunches for the Common Cathedral (outdoor church for people who are homeless on the Boston Common, my coffee maker broke, things were crazy! I managed ten minutes before service to sling on my robe and stole, but missed the prayers with the choir, OOPS!
The service was great, the music, the liturgy, the announcements..but right before I got up to preach, I got really nervous. I wasn't sure why, the part of preaching I love is the preaching part! But I got up, and started, and realized that the sermon was much more prophetic than pastoral, and it was huge. It was a little scarey! They were with me the whole time, but I really have never felt God's power/spirit as strongly within as I did yesterday. When I finished, I was a little dazed, and after the call to prayer, I was still sort of not ready for the transition, and I couldn't remember how to lead the prayers of the people (someone makes a request, I repeat it in the mike, I say "For this we pray", and the congregation says "Gracious God, receive our prayer"). I was still feeling like either I had hit a home run, or struck out hugely, or just had done a 15 mile hike in New Hampshire White Mountains.
It was sort of funny, because I had to ask my colleague what to do , as I didnt' have my bulletin (Note. To. Self: even if you have done it thousands of times, still have it in your worship folder, printed and BIG)
After the service, I was inundated with people thanking me for the sermon, for prickling their consciousness...it was extraordinary.... retired seminary professors and working moms and pillars of the congregation.....and so I just throw that feedback to the Spirit. Thank you for blessing the words that we wrote together. Thank you for helping me be open. Thank you.
and there is more, because then we went down to the common cathedral, and worshipped there, in the crux of tourists and people who are homeless and people who lived in the neighborhood. We talked about the experience....with the youth...and then back to the church at 4:00 for this great concert of lute, voice and piano--selections from Purcell, Rodrigo, Hayden, and African-American Spirituals.
God is good.
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