The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What To Do, What To Do ....

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am called to preach the Good News this week --but how to preach it and what good news about what subject is the question. Last week I had planned to follow up last Sunday's Markan version of the feeding of the 5,000 with Jesus' response in John's gospel to those who continued to seek him because they wanted continued free lunches ... but that just doesn't feel right this week. I am feeling led by the Spirit in a different direction, because of what is going on between Israel and Lebanon, and how violence in the Middle East seems to be peaking again.

But what is it that will really feed my people this week? For what are they hungering? My two congregations are pretty different from one another, so they also require two different diets. The idea is that each will receive what they uniquely require ... have to think and pray about this some more.

Most people either don't realize --or else they forget-- how much of a pastor's job is simply to study and reflect ... we appear to be sitting doing not much of anything, but actually we're thinking, praying and meditating furiously. I do an incredible amount of reading in the process of preparing for Sunday worship. Someone once described the role of a pastor as it reflected Christ's ministry as prophet, priest and sovereign. The priestly role is fulfilled by standing in the middle between God and Her people ... we communicate to the people of behalf of God, we communicate to God on behalf of the people. No one on either side has "spoken" clearly to me so far this week ...

One of my former partners once asked me, when she happened to be in my office while I was preparing a sermon, why I had erased an entire page of text. I guess she thought sermon preparation was merely taking dictation from God, or something like that. If only it were that simple ... then I could go fishing this evening!

On the other hand, some of my best sermons were conceived while I was fishing.


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