At last we talk about the obvious way Christians experience Jesus as bread: communion. The gospel for the 12th week after Pentecost (Pr. 15B) is John 6:51-58.
I’ve always said that preaching is highly contextual, and it would be interesting to see how my preaching changed in a new context. I didn’t anticipate the ways the process of change would be fraught with doubt and struggle. Came in at 22 minutes, yet can’t really point to tangents; perhaps I told too many stories. I think it hung together, actually I was nervous when I finished, but Kathy liked it and I got a compliment from a visitor who liked my style, and that I talked about race.
Yesterday I went to dinner with a parishioner who told me she loves my sermons, she can see my mind going a million miles a minute and my voice just trying to keep up (she didn’t quite say those words, but it captures the gist). She told me, however, that not everyone appreciates my style. I know, I said; I don’t meet their expectations. I’m working on it. Don’t stop, she said. Just be aware. I told her about a quotation I love from one of the Wesley brothers about preaching, something like, every week I set myself on fire and people watch me burn [oh no! I just tried to fact-check that quote, and found a blog that claims Wesley didn’t say it. Sigh. Well, it’s a good thought, anyway: my takeaway is the idea that preachers channel the Holy Spirit, that we set ourselves on fire for God. I don’t think it’s braggadocious; I think it’s about prayer and openness]. I think St Paul is used to a more literary or scholarly sermon, I’m not sure. I know my exegesis is solid and my enthusiasm carries the day. I’m working on making sure the connections that are so clear in my head are equally clear to my listeners.