The process of writing this week's sermon for Evensong, using the Lectionary readings for the "Second Service" is not one I'm keen to repeat. Yet again, though I looked at the texts on Monday, it wasn't till late last night that I began to seriously address the question of what I should say to a tiny congregation (admittedly boosted by up to 20 choristers, sitting in the chancel behind me and generally opening their books before the preacher has even made it up the pulpit steps) scattered far and wide around the church, in order to take maximum advantage of the pillars helpfully provided for protection from eye contact with anyone, anywhere.
I read and thought and thought and read, then went to bed praying that God would suggest some possible direction in the course of the night. But nothing. Not a glimmer of a hint.
Trying not to panic, I set off for a morning's CME. Surely something, someone would inspire me in the course of the morning.
Not this time.
Unless, of course, you count my first meeting with one of the new deacons. Ordained two weeks ago, M has a scary cum wonderful brief in that he is attached as a curate to the Cathedral (and has to preach there tomorrow, poor guy!) , but is also a "pioneer missioner" to the city of Gloucester, with a brief to develop some sort of fresh expression of church among the under 30s there. It strikes me that combining these two varieties of ministry may be an almost impossible task, but a very exciting one.
So perhaps its not altogether surprising that eventually I found myself writing a sermon from Romans 15:20
I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation
In fact, what I've produced is not so much a sermon as a, help, I don't know, a mini presentation maybe?- on fresh expressions. Ah well. Maybe it's time to remind St M's that such things exist.
I hope so, because it's really and truly the best I could do this time round. I'm dreading the process of preaching it, because I'm not convinced it's actually what God has in mind...but unless an alternative arrives fully developed so that I can commit it to screen in under an hour tomorrow, it's all I have to offer. Hope he'll find some way of using it regardless.