I haven’t preached since I retired. I’ve been in ministry in various ways, led devotions, and counseled people but no preaching. As much as I enjoyed preaching, I can’t say I have really missed the weekly preparation.
This week I returned to preaching. Adam Wood, the scheduled preacher for the Christian Ministry in the National Parks service we attend called me on Wednesday and asked me to preach this Sunday. His grandmother died and he needed to return to Minnesota for the funeral. Of course I said I was willing to fill in for him. I figured I had a sermon tucked away somewhere that would work. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to work on it because I was working every day.
Wednesday evening when I returned to the RV, I looked up the lectionary scriptures for Sunday. The 10 commandments, Jesus clearing the temple, and a passage from 1 Corinthians on wisdom and foolishness. I opened the Bible where I have made notes on every sermon I preached in the last 30 years and found out the following: while I preached two sermon series on the 10 commandments, I had never preached just one sermon on all 10; I only preached on Jesus clearing the temple once and that was Palm Sunday; and I had never – not even once – preached on those verses in 1 Corinthians. That is what I get for not being a lectionary preacher.
So I prayed about it and studied the scripture readings for a while. Then I let my brain work on it. Thursday night I wrote the sermon, Friday night I rewrote it, and Saturday night I wrote it a third time. I have never been able to write a good sermon in the evening. I’m a morning person and by 7 pm I’m just not thinking clearly.
This morning I got up and reworked the sermon one more time (extra early because of Daylight Savings Time). Then Tom drove the hour to Furnace Creek while I practiced.
The worship services are informal and most of the people who attend are park employees that come every week. When It was time I got up and preached the word I had been given. The sermon was okay, although several people told me it was too short.
I appreciated the invitation to preach, and will do it again if they ask, but I’m not ready to go back to preaching every week. For now, I am right where God wants me to be, doing what he has called me to do. It is enough.