Sunday, February 22, 2004

Sunday Night Debriefing

On the drive up to the parish this morning, I was still unsure about the sermon. I had written something up, which was basically an attempt to meld both previous entries into one. The result, of course, was two sermons, that did not hold together very well.

So, I ended up not using my text. I spoke extemporaneously about the movement of God from glory to glory.

I decided to quote a few lines from Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey;

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

I attempted to quote it from memory, and experienced the worse nightmare of many preachers; I drew a blank. For the life of me I could not get past "a sense sublime." I stood in silence in the pulpit for some time, but it was just gone. Eventually, I stumbled on, with the help of my prepared words, returned to my place...and suddenly recalled Wordsworth's lines again! The customary in this parish is a moment of silence after the sermon, followed by the Creed. After a pause, I stepped to the middle, and said, "Before the Creed, I want to offer you that poem that I couldn't recall..."

During announcements, I thanked them for the birthday reception, and then made a half-humorous apology about stumbling around in the pulpit. Someone from the back shouted out; "It's ok. We understand. It was a senior moment!" Perhaps it was.

At the 10:00 liturgy, I came down from the pulpit and spoke extemporaneously in the aisle. I recalled Wordsworth's lines this time. I also encourage participation, asking for examples of God's glory in their daily lives. Good responses, although this time I did not remember to add the story of the prayer places in the park, and the bit about being co-creators with God.

We have been using Eucharistic Prayer C. In the place where we speak of "the God of our Fathers," I have been adding "..and Mothers," and then including Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For some reason, today I could not recall Rebecca's name. After a pause, during which I considered saying "...and Isaac's wife" (or even Mrs. Isaac?....arrggghhh!), it came back to me.

Lots of good natured jokes about memory lost and old age during coffee hour today. I picked up these two tidbits along the way:

"There are some advantages to getting old and losing your memory. For one, every morning when you wake up, you can look forward to making new friends. And, you can hide your own Easter eggs."

Not the best Sunday I've ever had in regards to preaching. But, that may end up being a good thing. During Lent, I've initiated a Lenten Speaker Series on the theme of "A Spiritual Journey." Those who will be speaking might just feel a bit less intimidated now. I'm not exactly a hard act to follow!


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