Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Few Small, Good Things

It was just another normal Sunday in October: on Saturday morning, it suddenly became autumn, the temperature dipping below freezing. There was just enough snow to get the dog all excited, but it was gone by the evening. On Sunday, I noticed a curb full of leaves. We sang the hymn "Sing to the Lord of Harvest" this morning: part of our month-long Stewardship Emphasis.

One of our senior high students gave the "Stewardship Talk" this morning. I asked her if I could reprint her message here, but it turns out that she spoke virtually without notes, on the subject of stewardship, and on the mission trip this summer. She spoke about the ice cream she desperately wanted one evening, and the autistic boy who managed to communicate to her that he wanted ice cream as well, and how she decided to use the $5 for him rather than for herself. She talked about stewardship as the choices we make, and the lessons her parents have taught her, and about giving as "stimulating our faith economy." (I loved that little phrase.)

The Sunday School Children sang: "What can One Small person Do?"

At ten o'clock there was a baptism, an almost one-year-old girl who slept in her mother's arms throughout most of the baptism, even though the water was cold, if I do say so myself. She sleepily opened her eyes as the pastor showed her the candle and said, "Let your light so shine before others.... so that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven." Then she leaned back on her mother's shoulder.

Her big brother, four years old, was standing right underneath her, and watched her face in wonder and delight during the baptism. He looked positively entranced; he couldn't take his eyes off of her, almost proud, it seemed, of his little sister. Watching his face, I was aware that this was a view that only the worship assistant and I could glimpse.

I saw a family that I hadn't seen in several years at church this morning. I still remembered their names.

And I spoke with someone who is familiar with my blog, and has good things to say about my writing. If only my preaching could be as powerful as my writing. That is one thing what I'm musing about this evening.

And, do you think better preaching can transform a congregation?

6 comments:

Kathryn said...

Lovely moments in your Sunday - thanks for sharing.
I'm not sure why you feel your preaching lacks power - but I'm VERY sure that even the greatest preachers will only transform a congragation that is ready to hear. And that's not within your control...

Diane said...

I'm not sure I said it properly. I don't think my preaching lacks power, exactly; just that I get the feeling that it could be more powerful.

I got the feeling that this commenter thought my writing had something that my preaching didn't have, and I'm musing on that.

It's possible that I'll always be more a writer thann a preacher, and I need to trust that the Holy Spirit can use me, anyway.

Jennifer said...

No doubt the HS is using you in all places and times. No doubt.

DogBlogger said...

(o)

Tracy said...

That was one of the sweetest baptisms I have ever had the pleasure of attending. I always get a bit choked up, but this one was extra special. After we had already left, I realized I should have told her family what a beautiful thing it was to watch their little one wake up with the water of the Holy Spirit, and then just as calmly lay her head back on her mama's shoulder, only to quietly turn and be enchanted by the flickering candle light. This Little Light of Mine. I have little doubt hers will shine brightly. When they turned for us to welcome her into our faith community, the look on her face was priceless. I fell asleep in my daddy's arms and woke up at the front of this place, in front of all these people. And she simply gazed out, no fear, just what seemed like pleasant wonder. Very precious.

Lindy said...

I imagine your preaching is quite good. People put too much importance on the sermon, I think. In my tradition it is just another liturgical element. It should be about God, and it should be about seven minutes to fit in nicely and not become it's own separate thing. The preaching might influence a few individuals. I think it's doubtful that it will influence an entire congregation. But, I'd never say never... You are a gifted communicator, Diane. Just keep going.