Saturday....spent on a Quiet Day courtesy of the diocesan CME programme. Some good input, designed to be minimalist (at the beginning of the day, the leader told us of a Franciscan friar leading a Quiet Day for a group from Newcastle uni, whose first address consisted of
"God is love. See you at lunchtime"....Wonderful. Less is more. Can't think when I'll achieve that...but wonderful) and a venue that worked in good weather, but somehow the day left me a bit disconnected and grumpy.
Maybe this was in part because of my sense of the yawning gap where there ought to have been a nicely planned sermon. With such a large team at St M's, you don't preach at the Eucharist that often, so there's extra pressure to say something good - and today's readings included the lovely John 21 passage that has been a theme song for me since I was sent off to ponder it after my first confession at St John the Divine, Kennington, 25 years ago. Somehow, that didn't help. It wasn't the time to retell the story of my journey...but quite what God did want me to say escaped me for most of yesterday evening. Deep blankness persisted till in desperation, having read assorted online offerings, and leaning heavily on Lawrence, I wrote something late last night and went to bed...
Then, this morning I toddled off to preside at 8.00, and discovered to my alarm that St M's was planning to use only the shortened version of the reading from Acts 9 - thus demolishing at a stroke one third of my sermon. No good talking about Ananias if they weren't going to hear the first thing about him. Minor panic, and frantic rewrite in the 3o minutes between getting home from the 8.00 and setting out for the 10.00, which turned out to be just what was needed. Somehow, during that process things got rearranged so that when I found myself in the pulpit my opening prayer was not, as I'd anticipated
"Dear Lord, forgive me for the uninspired muddle I'm about to dish up" but the more conventional "May I speak in the name of ....."
And it was OK. Some parts more than OK.
Thank you God.