Sermon Re-do

I love preaching. Well, love may be too strong of a word. It is a both a blessing in my life and hard work. I am blessed to be able to study, think, write, and share what I know on topics about God and current events. Some days I cannot believe that I can be so fortunate to spend my days this way. Research and public speaking are two of my favorite activities and both are required for preaching.

Preaching is also a tough discipline. Finding engaging topics each week and then talking about them in a way that people find interesting is hard work. I hate boring sermons and I would stop doing this if I felt my sermons were a drudge to sit through. It can be a real stress to be on each Sunday. My first ten years of regularly preaching my stomach would be in knots and I felt sick every single Sunday.

Fortunately, after twenty years I have a more measured response to the demands of a sermon. It helped when I learned that a sermon is a one-time, 12-15 minute event that once it is over, it is gone. I am not trying to write a great novel, or preserve a profound thought for eternity. A sermon to me is an ephemeral event. For those few minutes I endeavor to share with the congregation my best reflections on God’s role in our lives. Hopefully this will lead us all to a deeper place in our spiritual journey, but once the sermon is done, it vanishes like smoke into the rafters of the sanctuary.

The internet is starting to change all of this. Several years ago we began to upload audio files of sermons to our church website. For a number of logistical reasons we did not continue for long. Recently, as we are working on a redesign of our website I have started to experiment again with sharing sermons on-line. So now I am loading my sermons onto my blog, Sound Preacher. I received very positive feedback from that sermon and was glad to be able to share it with others who do not live locally.

I was planning to do this with this past Sunday’s sermon, but I encountered a problem. I did not like my sermon this past week. When preaching 45 or so times per year you are bound to have a clunker every now and then. This past week I had particularly high expectations for myself, as I was talking about evolution and creationism, and wanted to do the topic justice, but it just did not turn out the way I wanted. If this were a normal sermon I would feel bad for letting down myself, and my calling, but I would have put it behind me quickly as I know that another one is just around the corner. But now I am committed to posting the file on-line. Nothing disappears once it goes into cyber-space. It could be heard for years to come, and I do not want a bad sermon floating around out there.

So, I did something I have never done before. I had a do-over. I re-recorded my sermon. I did not try to make it perfect, but I did give myself another chance, and I like this sermon much better. This is the sermon you can see on the blog entitled “The E Word.” I wish I had this chance every week to make my preaching better.

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