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Back to the Front 28 January 2013

Posted by Dr Moose in Church, Faith, Life, Ponderings.
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After the best part of 6 months I found myself facing the  congregation yesterday, instead of being in it. I wasn’t pulled out by surprise you understand, instead I had been asked, and had accepted, the invitation to preach. It was a sensation both familiar and strange. Familiar, because although I hadn’t preached since early August, I am no stranger to the activity, and strange because I have spent so many weeks in the congregation, and then found myself facing them (dog-collared) – probably the largest regular congregation I have ever faced! It was a great reminder of how much I enjoyed preaching, a love somewhat tarnished by years of solo preaching ministry in my life as a parish priest without a team to share the load. And it is a load, to have the privilege and responsibility to teach and guide a congregation.

This morning the folks got a completely fresh sermon – the church, while nominally Anglican rides rather lightly on the regulations of the Lectionary – leaving me no set pieces to dig out of my files. Of course, after 12 years practice I’m sure I recycle content unconsciously, and there is no shame to that. It was a rather challenging experience for another reason though, the expected length of sermon: 25-30 minutes instead of 12-15! I spent most of Saturday crafting something I thought rather workmanlike, something I wasn’t totally happy with, of about 3,000 words. I knew it was missing something, and so was very glad that the missing section popped into my head while I was in the shower yesterday morning!

Maybe you can see where this is going already, because as I got ready to preach the service leader turned to me and said, “if you can be done by quarter past, or twenty past, that would be great.” In other words I had only 20-25 minutes, which resulted in some “on-the-fly” editing, whereas only the day before I was expecting to need to ‘fill’ somewhat! Needless to say it all came out right in the end, at 27 and a half minutes. Twenty-seven and a half easy minutes! It seems that a podcast will appear at some point too, which I suppose I’d better to, even if only to hear how I could do better (and how much better!) If you’re really unlucky, I’ll post the link… I suppose I’d better re-think my writing strategy a little too!

I’m preaching again in April, on the Road to Emmaus, and looking forward to it. All I need to do now is work out how to write sermons in work time, rather then lose a day off!

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