08 May 2008


I am preaching on Sunday.

Or perhaps I should say that the entire congregation, staff, and my family expect me to preach on Sunday.

However, the sermon is just not materializing from my head, my heart, and my fingertips. It's Pentecost Sunday. And it's Mothers' Day! You'd think I would be far from hurting for things to say. But the thoughts just won't come together into a sermon.

In some ways, I feel like one of those apostles in Jerusalem after Jesus left. With Jamie gone I sometimes find myself wondering what to do next. He isn't the kind of senior pastor that micro-manages everything I do, so it's not that I'm without guidance. I'm just without my leader. Oftentimes when I'm preparing something like a sermon or a class lesson, if I'm stumped, I wander in to Jamie's office near the end of the day and we just chat about it. We talk about what it means that a particular word was chosen or why this text relates to another. And that usually gets my creative juices flowing enough to kick-start me into writing.

But Jamie isn't here and so I continue to try to prime the pump myself, begging the texts to tell me what Immanuel needs to hear from them, asking them to eke out one more story, one more message. I imagine this is how those apostles felt - if only Jesus had given us one more bit of instruction, if only he had told us what to expect, if only ....

Life is full of "if only" moments and we must learn to find the answers in some other way. The "if only" didn't happen. And it likely won't happen. The odds are pretty darn good that Jamie won't decide to come home tonight so that he and I can talk tomorrow about this sermon. And the odds were good that Jesus wasn't going to peek back through the clouds and say, "Oh by the way, fellas ...."

So why do I continue to look to the sky for the answers?
Why do I wrestle so much with the word that speaks so intimately to me at other times?
Why can I not get past this block and allow my heart to speak through these texts?
Where is that wild Spirit these texts try to convey?

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