It has generally been my habit to spend Saturday catching up on some of your blogs. But I unplugged Friday night and didn’t turn on the laptop Saturday until very, very late. I hope to stay mostly unplugged through most of this long weekend.
Because – God help me! – I am preparing to preach.
Some of you will recall that I preached in another parish of our diocese last year. I enjoyed that experience. I enjoyed the experience of study and prayer and preparation. I mostly enjoyed the writing… even though I found it gut-wrenching and had my moments of panic in the last few days/hours. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being in the pulpit and preaching after all that preparation.
After that experience, I began to explore with my priest the possibility of preaching here at home. She is letting many different people with different perspectives preach. I expected she would be open to including me in the rota. The question was whether I was ready. It took me a year to get to "yes."
Being who and what I am, I was very hesitant to preach in my own parish. I am vividly mindful that a few people walked out on the Sunday when the Bishop announced his support for LGBTs in the diocese. I am aware that some will see my presence in the pulpit as something akin to the Abomination of Desolation. But I've remained in the church (and managed not to levitate off my pew) when one of our fundamentalist members preached. I hope he and the other "conservatives" can extend the same courtesy to me. As a parishioner and a LEM, I have experienced the grace of being at the altar with those few in the parish who adamantly reject who and what I am. I hope that, when I preach next Sunday, they will hear the voice of a sister in Christ who is just as "orthodox" as they are. ... But I really hate it that I even have to think about and be aware of these "political" issues. I hope those issues will disappear soon.
To tell the truth: I probably would have been timid even aside from the questions of who and what I am … for preaching to one’s one community of faith seems especially daunting to me. I know some of you have done it, and you priest friends do it regularly.
Well ... I finally decided I was ready and willing. I met with my rector in early May, and we settled on a date: June 6.
Only when I got home that evening, after setting the date, did I see the lectionary for June 6. And it’s a barn-burner. [We're on Track 2, BTW.] What great stories and readings!
Over this month, I’ve been reading the stories and letting them wash over me … trying to discern themes and patterns and threads.
Today, I delved into the serious commentary and study phase.
Later this weekend, I will begin writing.
So I will try to disengage for a few days from the blogosphere and keep my focus more theological.
If any of you want to point me toward online resources for Pentecost 2 (Proper 5), I’ll be grateful. I would be happy to talk here about the readings for next Sunday … if any of you seem so inclined. I have some hypotheses and themes … but also many questions. If you’re preaching next Sunday and want to chat, please chime in. I would welcome the dialogue.
BTW, having the grace of a month to prepare, I'm reminded again: I just don't know how you priests do it ... preparing a sermon every week! I am in awe.