Sunday, November 23, 2008

Something old, something new...

and above all, something borrowed.
That seems to be the construction of most of my sermons at present.
For various reasons, to do with poor time-keeping, worse boundary management and simply Too Much To Do, my sermon preparation time is being cut to the bone at present.
I read the texts on Monday or Tuesday...think a little....make great plans to read round, to walk the texts over the next few days, to pray and pause and pray some more...and then somehow, appallingly, it's Saturday afternoon and I am due to be somewhere else by early evening and I have not one coherent sermon thought to my name
So I read feverishly. I read Jane Williams and Tom Wright. I read the Church Times. I read the New Interpretters.
I read the sermons posted by my friends and colleagues on PRCL and at the 11th hour Preacher Party
I read the comments and discussions at Desperate Preacher
I look to see if wonderful wonderful Dylan has attacked this passage and then, THEN, I truncate all the good intentions into about 5 minutes of frantic prayer as to which direction of all those I've read and been impressed by, God might actually want me to take.
Sometimes it's so hard to re-present and re-formulate an idea that my presentation of it sounds pretty much like a quote from the original
Sometimes, (though with proper attribution where I'm aware of it) I don't even realise I'm quoting directly till I re read the whole thing moments before I fall into bed
Mostly I borrow and reframe...I use some bones provided by others, some bones that I seem to find lying about the place here, and am enabled to flesh them out with my own words and thoughts, all by the light of the midnight oil.
But it's so very far from the way I want to preach.
I want to engage with the texts, to explore and to contemplate, to present old truths in creative ways...instead I seem to be serving up an endless diet of "ready meals" cooked in a microwave.
The fact that people seem to find them satisfying is very small consolation.
Really working with the word is one of the ways that I grow, but it doesn't seem to be part of the picture at all.
I need to sort this out...but I need time to achieve that.
So, when would that be?


marcella said...

I put up my post for today on Friday and then scheduled it for about five minutes time (it's now 09:34). It's entirely borrowed - from YOU!

EVERYTHING I'm reading and learning at the moment leads me to the conclusion that perfectionism is BAD, the perfect vicar, the perfect mother - they can't be done. And surely, that being so, it's far better to make time for rest and prayer as well as visiting and listening and being listened to and if that means serving up a few ready meals that's fine - they're obviously M&S meals anyway rather than Tesco basics.

Anonymous said...

You have the answer in all the time you give to trawl through other people's work on the texts. You might like to have the courage of your convictions and sit with the texts for ten minutes first thing every morning from Monday to Friday and then write about how the texts have worked on you through the week.

Crimson Rambler said...

you comfort me greatly. And sometimes the best we can do for our people, I do believe, is pass along to them what we have been given, cf. I Corinthians 11, passim. Or, as my Best Boss used to say -- "we all string each other's pearls, all the time."

God_Guurrlll said...

and that is why I write my sermons with a knot in my stomach. I look at the text, my eyes glaze over and I think to myself wtf does God want me to say about this text to my congregation. I look to others for inspiration and try hard to quote them too much.

All I can say is we try our best.

Peace and love,

dp23 said...

To use a cooking analogy - microwave or marinate?

Ready meals are ok to a point; but time taken to let things soak in gives a better flavour.

Go with the excellent advice from Anonymous - but make it 15 or 20 minutes!