Drive-by posting: Preacher Process

I have gone a couple of weeks without blogging again. It seems that this is going to be the rhythm of this dance, for now – a slower pace, an irregular beat that stops and starts and picks up again.

A week ago I was looking out the back window at the trees, watching leaves fall, while working on the worship service that I led last Sunday. I am a student; I do not lead worship every week, and for this I am grateful: it is still a Herculean effort to put all the things together, selecting the hymns and preparing the readings and the children’s story and writing the sermon, making sure all of it fits together in such a way that no piece of it undermines the other, that all of it is a coherent whole with a single message.

It has been suggested from time to time that I work too hard at this, that it is okay if some piece or another is not perfect. Yes, and… I do work hard, harder and longer than I will be able to when I have broader responsibilities. And no piece of it will ever be perfect. The whole thing will not be perfect. And in any case, perfect or otherwise, a bit past noon on Sunday it will be over and the next thing coming will be over the horizon and on approach. But there is a difference between unnecessary anxiety about perfection, and wishing to do the work that I am called to do, to the best degree that I am able, in the time and with the resources that I have, and that work is to discern what I message I need to bring to a particular body, at a particular time — and then to do that as completely and wholeheartedly as possible.

To blow that off, for me, feels icky. Wrong. Not in a self-castigating failure sort of way – and I know something about that – but in a “this is not who I am” sort of way.

This calling, it is a very strange thing.

Maybe it works differently for other people. Probably so, at least in some of the details. I am not sure whether I want to ask about other people’s details; I am susceptible to the false belief, or fear, that if my details do not look like the next person’s details than I am certainly doing it wrong, whatever it is.

Very well then. I will do it wrong, as best that I am able. And then I will do the next thing.

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