Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yeah it's me I'm talking about again. Or rather it isn't me precisely but I do find something weird happens when I am faced with speaking on any subject where by and large I don't have the problem.

I first noticed this in about 1986 or so when someone due to preach on 'Christ the Healer' was taken ill and my vicar thought it would be good for me to step in at the last moment. I generally enjoy good health, that sermon went well, and around the same time I ended up standing in for a venture leader due to do the main evangelistic address on a houseparty, again at the last minute.

Maybe it was because people knew how little preparation time I had had but in both cases the feedback was superb.

Since then I have had a great confidence in my ability to improvise a riff around a theme - hmm, jazz preaching - if necessary. By and large I haven't been accused of a lack of preparation. Give me a Bible and a verse and I'll do you 20 - 30 minutes with no notice.

This is also not to say that I don't prepare. I do. But I know I can cope if I don't.

This is also not to say I don't get nervous. I wake early on Sundays however well I am prepared and find them a marvellous laxative. It's tough to eat Sunday breakfast but I force it down.

So today, despite the knowledge that all will be well (and is prepared) I feel really worried. Is this a higher power's way of letting me know what it feels like to be someone else? Imagine going round permanently with this feeling in my guts. Ghastly.

Jesus says the birds of the air don't worry. I'm not sure he was a great ornithologist so he was probably making the point that all they can do is work to get food and feed chicks. Try and escape the sparrowhawk but if it gets you so what? Life's hard and then you die to feed someone else's chicks.

What a great thought for the day.You are so much more important than the birds, yet one day your body will feed the worms that feed the birds.

Don't be anxious now. Let's go to church. It'll be great.

1 comment:

dmk said...

I find I often preach/lead worship better when I'm feeling anxious or a bit under the weather than when I'm more relaxed. Like on Sunday.

I once deliberately did a few sermons without preparing (it was a service with a small congregation) as an experiment: what the sermons lost in content they made up for in immediacy, so I don't think people lost out. As long as you've something to say, rather than waffling. Most of our teaching ministry is on the hoof anyway: the reply to the Alpha question, the chat at the school gate, the phone call etc., and the 'preparation' is all of your Christian living and thinking up to that point.