I am in the middle of preparing my Sermon for Sunday. Friday’s always come too quickly in some ways. I still have not learned discipline to the extent that I faithfully work on my sermons as I should throughout the week. Meetings, phone calls, visitation, hospital visits, blogging, email, and all sorts of things seem to steal little bits of my time until I find myself on Friday morning with lots of unorganized thoughts and research, but no sermon…yet.
I have come to love the process of preparing sermons. It can be miserable, convicting, gut-wrenching, and terribly difficult. The hard part seems to be, for me, the patience of simply listening and desiring every so desperately to be spoken to by God and by the text. This becomes hard when there are pending meetings, the phone is ringing, emails keep coming, and people keep stopping by the office. All of these are wonderful and good and necessary, but they are enemies of reflection and contemplation.
The beautiful part of the preparation is when you are stuck. Maybe your heart sings what it wants to proclaim but your wordy translation doesn’t do it justice. Maybe you just can’t think of what words to write next or what point needs to be made and can’t translate the song in your heart. And you sit and you struggle and you become frustrated and suddenly…your brain patterns change, the Holy Spirit graciously stirs, and somehow the words come. In these moments, truly, one feels the weight of the responsibility and also the airy grace of the call to preach and proclaim God’s word.
So this morning I look at my notes and my research and my brainstormed thoughts, and my heart sings the underlying truth that resides in Luke 15:1-10 and I struggle to translate its song. Agonizingly I attempt to piece together the puzzle of God’s message. I work in hope and anticipation of that moment this afternoon when God might powerfully speak and the song becomes clear and the pieces fit.
I guess much of our lives are like this. Much of God’s movement in our lives parallels this. I daresay we all love God much more than we actually obey. I daresay we all want to do God’s will far more often than we actually do. I daresay we all have this song playing in our heart and are struggling with translating it. Our families, our careers, our friends, our hobbies and countless other good things all combine to cloud our vision. Here’s looking with anticipation and hope for all of us for those moments when the song becomes clear and we translate it well.