Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Reflections

This is the first Sunday of my sabbatical and it gives rise to some thoughts.

I've shared in many other settings that one of the things I was looking forward to in my sabbatical was NOT preaching. Now, don't get me wrong, I love preaching! I couldn't do what I do if I didn't. But you have to understand, when one is a preacher who preaches every week, one's life becomes a continuous search for sermonic material. Whenever I read something, hear something, remember something, see something, I'm always thinking how I might use that in a sermon! Every new insight, I file away for later use (as I get older, the ability to recall those things becomes more and more a challenge!). So I am looking forward to letting that go and just receiving. I get to hear other preachers preach, which doesn't happen that often in a live setting. I hope I am as receptive to other's preaching as I want others to be of mine (sort of the Preachers Golden Rule).

But old habits die hard. I am resisting the temptation to keep a list of "sermon possibilities" during my sabbatical. Although I need to have some plans in place when I return to active pastoring in September, I am going to put off thinking in those terms until the middle of August.

As I sit here in my living room at a time when I would normally already be at church preparing for the service and other events in the day, I am amazed at how much of a load has been released from me. It isn't just the preaching, while that is significant. It is also the mechanics of the service (who is doing what, whom I need to talk to in preparation, etc.)… all the "little things" as well. I suppose it is related to nervousness, although I haven't identified it as such for a long time. I am so used to it that it just felt like a subtle pressure to "perform" well for those who will be attending worship.

Since the fire we had in the Sanctuary we have added a lot of technology to the service. And since the burglary of all of that equipment a few weeks ago, I have been stressed by replacing it all before I left on sabbatical. Even now, I am wondering if the lens for the projector came in and got installed, and whether the media team will be ok after Steve leaves for his new ministry. I asked people not to contact me about this things, so I supposed I should just let it go. But it isn't easy when you are used to being engaged with all of it. Hmmmm. Maybe I need not be so engaged?

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