I love writing sermons, well most of the time. I love the surprises I get as I work with a text or texts. I love the new insights into familiar tales. I love the challenge of discovering what it is that emerges as this message for 'this week'. I also love the fact that by dint of the Holy Spirit, somehow people hear something irrespective of how ham-fisted my endeavours.
Just occasionally, I have a real struggle to disocver the sermon hidden in the thinking, preparing and praying. And often those are the ones that, once formed, seem to say something important.
Even more occasionally I write a sermon, quite serviceable, quite appropriate and yet... I think twice in my life I've woken up on a Sunday morning and known I had to chuck away my sermon and write a knew one. And each time it was 100% the right thing to do. Exactly once I've abandoned my script and just spoken 'off the cuff' and that was right too.
This week I have had two (or three, depends how you count) goes at my sermon, and what I have doesn't quite cut it. So, rare event, I am going to be sermon writing on a Saturday.
That doesn't mean the exisitng sermons were wasted, nor that I was out or tune with God, rather that somehow in the iterative process of writing and revising, and thinking and praying, God was guiding me to something that is not necessarily 'better' as measured by standards of intellect or style, but closer to what is needed at this time.
Bit of a blog break ahead - after Sunday I have a week or so of leave at what, in Gorton parlance, is referred to euphemisitically as the Hame'lldoo Hotel at Ayrgate (i.e. I'm staying at home and having days out). To ensure I get my break the laptop will be switched off, packed away and hidden from view!