Saturday, June 6, 2009

Preaching Again for the First Time

It's a novel experience yet one that has the fit and feeling of a well-worn sock. Today, I'm writing a sermon for the first time in well over a year, for one of the my church's summer chapels on the coast of Maine. Tomorrow morning, I'll put on my clerical collar, my alb, and my stole and step into the pulpit or, as the case may be, stand in the aisle, and preach.

The old working habits come back. Up by 6 A.M, I brew some breakfast tea and head over to my study, pull out a lined yellow writing pad and my fountain pen, light a candle, and begin. Thumbing through this book or that piled up before me, occasionally stepping over to sit at my computer to do some quick research, I work through the morning. If I'm fortunate, as I was today, I'll have a draft to show for it. 

Back later this afternoon, and then again after supper, I'll neatly rewrite my barely legible scrawl on a dozen or so five by seven note cards. In the morning, I'll be up again at dawn, reading aloud what I had written the day before, committing some sections to memory, hoping that it all hangs together. 

And then comes the long anticipated event itself, when the magic of forgetting myself in the act of preaching may happen and the thrill of feeling connected to my hearers may occur or, on occasion, the dull dead sense of missing the mark, of finding myself talking to an empty room full of people. One never knows.

Right now, I'm thankful for the opportunity. The whole creative process--planting the seeds and then watching what comes up in my heart and mind, the physical process of writing, of searching for and finding words that will speak well, of reading those words over and over again until they descend into my body and become second nature, and finally, of uttering them before others--is a great gift.

We'll see how it goes...

(Hans Holbein the Younger Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam Writing 1523 Louvre, Paris)

5 comments:

Karl Maria said...

Exciting. Anticipating the conclusion and your conclusions!

Bekah said...

Good luck Daddy

Schligdog said...

I miss them there sermons I must say...

MHarrington said...

David, I feel myself sitting in the congregation filling up with your words. And my mind stirring them again and again in the days that follow.

Thank you for what you have given.

Margo

David Heald said...

Many thanks, one and all!