Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I love to preach, but . . .

In nearly twenty-eight years, I have preached about 1260 different sermons, not counting the homilies at weddings and funerals.

If I add the sermons that I have preached at a second service, plus the occasional ones that I have preached at a conference, a radio show, or somewhere on the road, that's about 2100 occasions when I have stood in a pulpit to preach.

The early ones were composed on a Smith Corona typewriter. A few were written by hand on a yellow legal pad. My first computer was an IBM PC Junior, which has been replaced by as many twelve other laptop or desktop computers.

About three hundred sermons were written on a program called Writing Assistant and saved on 5-1/4" floppy discs. Years later if anybody had ever said that I would save them on "the cloud," I would have laughed. That would have sounded like science fiction.

That's a lot of sermons! Someone suggested I can practically put together a sermon in my sleep and preach it while somebody else is sleeping. Maybe so. But I can count the number of sermons on one hand that came easily; every one is the product of lots and lots of labor. They need to be coaxed inside.

This summer, I will sit in front of other preachers for a dozen Sundays. Can't wait! One of the deficits of being a preacher is you can get distracted by your own voice. Even though I have a small mountain of recorded sermons by the masters (on cassette tapes, no less), there is no substitute for listening to a pastor speak to the people that she or he loves. So that's part of the summer plan: to listen to other preachers do what they do best.

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