Monday, October 22, 2007

Just thinking

The experience of preaching last night was definitely less than uplifting. Words that had seemed just right on even the final read-through fell heavily on an unresponsive air and I wondered whether, in fact, in the process of preaching to myself I had actually excluded everyone else.

In fact I had 3 positive comments at the door - each of them from a woman in one or another form of ministry. So I'm wondering whether the struggles with letting go are particularly intense for us as a group? Is that the shadow side of the longing to nurture?

I know that it's part of almost every aspect of my life right now, as I prepare to move on in ministry to a new place, and as I watch my children stepping out into the world. So much of me would like to freeze time, - indeed, to put the clocks back to the comfortable days of primary school children, whose needs and crises could be solved so easily with hugs, hot chocolate and a really good book.
But there's so much joy, too, in watching them grow into their new worlds...and I know that actually they will "go" whether I release them gracefully or try to hang on with clenched fists. But if I let go willingly, then the evidence shows that they are more than willing to return.
So, I make the choice to open my arms to receive the future, for them and for me as well.


more cows than people said...

I know that feeling of preaching to a non-responsive crowd. I've had it a lot more in the last year than I used to. And I,too, am in transition. Hadn't thought about whether the two might be related. I felt great about my sermon when I preached it to two people Saturday night. Unbidden my husband had all sorts of strongly positive feedback. But Sunday... it didn't feel like I connected and I received no feedback at all. Pfft.

Blessings on you in this transition time.

I think writing a statement for a parish is different than writing for a Ph.D. app... I know I've had to call on a different voice than usual to write this darn thing. But... now that we're finally connected by e-mail, I'd be happy to review any drafts you prepare. Lots of kind folks have been reviewing my drafts and it has been immensely helpful.

marcella said...

As one of those unresponsive people out there, I can say for sure that it wasn't that I wasn't interested, or listening and it certainly wasn't that it didn't mean anything to me - if anything I was trying to hide because it was too close to home, too difficult a subject to deal with. Keep preaching it anyway, it's nice and cosy to have sermons we can laugh along with, but better for us if we are challenged once in a while.

RevDrKate said...

Kathryn, I went over and read it. It's very powerful and strong. It IS the Gospel and as we know, that's not always a popular preaching topic. Preaching is, as my SD says, a funny business. I like to hope that sometimes there are seeds planted that germinate later. And sometimes I know I am preaching to myself, and you know, maybe that's ok too. At least perhaps I am listening!

Songbird said...

Kathryn, you have ministered to me with your words. Thank you.

dave paisley said...

I think part of your reaction is wanting the immediate feedback of what people thought, but sometimes you just have to put something out there and let go of the outcome, i.e. don't necessarily look for specific feedback that you were maybe expecting.

As other commenters have noted, the subject may require much further thought and reflection and people aren't through with it within the timeframe of the service - and that's a good thing.

It's easy to see no reaction as "they hated it", but that's rarely the case, I suspect.

Cal said...

And that, (the last part of your post), is a sermon indeed. Thank you.