Wet preaching

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26/03/2018 by Chris Green

Yesterday’s was an Elijah sermon.

I don’t mean I was preaching on Elijah, or even like Elijah, but that part of his story graphically describes what I felt. To be clear, I’m not pretending that what I’m about to say is good exegesis.  I’m just making a point.

It’s that bit where’s Elijah’s with the prophets of Baal, challenging them to a god-battle.  He taunts, mocks and teases them to get their god to do something – anything, almost – to prove he’s there.

And then it’s his turn, and he deliberately makes things difficult for the Lord, by arranging a sacrifice but then dousing it with water before asking him to send fire.  And God does, spectacularly.

My point of comparison is trivial, but perhaps you echo it.

The result of all my study felt liked chopped, old firewood.  I had a bunch of scattered, disconnected thoughts, and no matter how I lined them up they wouldn’t sit neat and tidy.  It was just a pile of… stuff.

And my brain felt dead – being creative, fresh, and well applied seemed impossibly hard.  It was like that dead animal on the woodstack.

And then to chuck water at it, some big things came into my diary – good, but distracting – to reduce the time still further.

By the time I put my pen down I have rarely felt so flat and uninspired in what I had planned to say.

Do you ever feel like that about your sermons?  Thought so.

I looked at it again on Sunday morning, and tweaked – added a couple of things, crossed others out.  But still.

Was it a spiritual battle?  You betcha.

So what to do?  Some of my friends would interpret my week as God nudging me not to preach that sermon, but another one.  Others of my friends would say it was the Enemy nudging me, in the same direction.

Who knows?

The curious thing was, I don’t think anybody noticed when it actually came to preach it.  Each time I had some good conversations afterwards, and as the day went on I became more convinced that it had a proper shape to it, and it had the right point.

Lesson #1  Our own feelings about our sermons don’t matter, before, during, or after.  Shrug, and do the work.

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