Saturday, March 12, 2011

Too Elementary

One of the questions I get asked the most when someone finds out that I'm a priest is, "Do you ever get nervous when you have to preach?"  I still remember preparing for my  first sermon.  I was so nervous, I forgot to close the door when I left the house that morning.  Now, I have certainly come a long way since then and have quite a bit more confidence when I preach, but there is still a bit of apprehension that I think may be there to stay.

I often ask myself why I have such apprehension.  Over a period of time, I have come to realize that the apprehension I feel is a good thing.  It ensures that I think carefully before I go in front of the congregation to speak on God's Word.  Once I say something in a sermon, I cannot un-say it.  Those words are out there for everyone to hear and have a chance of affecting the lives of those who hear them, either positively or negatively.  That's quite a responsibility and one I take seriously.
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. -Matthew 15:18-20a
The apprehension doesn't come from a fear that I may be preaching with evil intentions.  The apprehension is born out of a fear that I may be preaching too much my own intentions and not allowing God's voice to come through.  As I said, however, I believe this apprehension is good, and I welcome its presence.  This apprehension has bled over into blogging and brought along a little something extra.

While I know that my sermons are recorded and posted online, that aspect of preaching is not at the forefront of my thoughts when preparing a sermon.  When I'm blogging, though, I am constantly confronted with the fact that I have posted a blog prior to the one I'm currently writing.  As I continue to mature in my theological understanding, will I one day look back on my early blog posts and shudder at some elementary observation that I once thought was revelatory?  A fellow priest blogger expressed a similar concern, but she also gave a reminder that we are all a work in progress.  As such, we should all strive to be the best we can be now, and rejoice when we find ourselves sometime in the future even better.

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