Monday, July 1, 2013

Writing a Sermon

It is Friday morning:  a beautiful day.  It's not too hot and there's a little breeze.  I brought my dog Scout in because every once in awhile on a Friday, I do bring her in:  she helps me write my sermon.  (That's what I say, anyway.)

It's the last day of Vacation Bible School around here.  The dog gets to meet all of the children before I go into my office to begin writing the sermon.  She's a great procrastination tool; I stand around for a while, letting groups of children pet her and talk about their own dogs.  Then I go into my office and begin writing.

(My sermon-writing practice is not awfully linear, although I do try.  I make folders of the Scripture readings and try to look ahead for the whole season.  I read the lessons early in the week.  And I read them aloud too.  I carry the words of the scripture readings along with me where I go:  to the hospital, walking the dog.  I journal my first impressions.  I exegete, and muse and remember and read.)

All week I had been thinking about putting my hand to the plow and not looking back.  Or looking back.  Either way.  All week that particular verse from the Gospel had just sort of been niggling at me, as well as a passage from Isaiah 43:  "Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old...."

Now it is Friday, and I am sitting in my office typing, writing a sermon and seeing where it went.  The windows are small in my office, but the shades are up and the light is coming in.  The dog sprawled on the floor, doing her 'world's laziest dog' impression.  The children are out on the lawn, playing.  I can hear them in the background, a light buzz.  But I am on a mission, writing furiously, trying to get a beginning, a middle, and an end before my computer runs out of power.  I have my hand to the plow and I am not looking back, although I 'm not really looking forward either.

The buzz gets nearer, as I am thinking about memory and imagination:  the foundations of our memories, how hard it is to imagine the future.  (Behold I am doing a new thing.  Really?)

I look up.  There is a group of children who are not playing any more.  They are just staring in the window, looking at me, looking at my dog.  There they are, their fresh faces looking at this odd woman who is just sitting and typing on a beautiful, breezy day.  And I am looking at them.  We are looking through the small window at one another.

(Behold.  I am doing a new thing.)

I consider the window that looks out onto the church lawn, green and growing this time of year.  I consider the window that looks out on to the children playing, the neighborhood, the school across the street.  And I think of the light and the children looking in at me, and at my life and at my dog.

And I think:  looking in and looking out are both part of the sermon-writing process.  Looking into the scriptures.  looking out at the world.  Looking into my own life.  Looking out at the children's faces, and at the sorrows and hopes around me.  Remembering and imagining:  a window that goes both ways.

The children's faces get into the sermon, somehow.

(Behold.  I am doing a new thing.)

1 comment:

Sue Palmer said...

Found you through Robin on RevGalBlogPals. Love what you've written, especially the looking into the scripture then looking out at the world, and your visual of you and the children on each side of the window. Thanks!