Like Telephone Poles on the Highway
The journey we go on each time we prepare to preach is really something, isn’t it? A couple months back, I heard Nadia Bolz Weber share that the first thought she has when reading her next Scripture is:
“Well, I’ve had a pretty good run, but it’s over.”
While far from scientific or definitive, I ran a Twitter poll asking which part of preaching people like more: preparation and writing or delivery. Delivery won 10 votes to 1.
Even my favorite writer of all time, E. B. White, had a love/hate relationship with writing, noting in The Second Tree from the Corner:
“The thought of writing hangs over our mind like an ugly cloud… we begin the day by subsiding after breakfast, or by going away, often to seedy and inconclusive destinations: the nearest zoo, or a branch post office to buy a few stamped envelopes. Our professional life has been a long shameless exercise in avoidance… Yet the record is there. Not even lying down and closing the blinds stops us from writing.”
This leads me to wonder whether everyone actually loves the public speaking aspect more, or maybe we’re just glad the writing phase is over.
While catching up on the hilarious and at times irreverent Tumblr blog “Everyday I’m Pastoring,” I found this post:
Whether it is a sermon, small group session, blog post, newsletter article, or that Facebook post you’re trying to write about the election without completely alienating half of your congregation… We go through this process repeatedly.
What I find most interesting about this take on the creative process and/or sermon writing is that five of the six steps are about the work itself. This will be good. This is hard. This is bad. This might be ok. This is great.
But nestled there in the middle is the moment or the day or the season when the struggle makes us question our own identity and abilities. I am bad.
I could write a blog post with 5 steps to avoid this feeling, but thankfully, those moments tend to pass on their own. Those clunkers of a sermon are inevitably, for some reason, always someone’s favorite. But even when they’re not, they’re like telephone polls on the highway. The next one’s coming, and eventually that one will be so far back that you can’t even see it in the rear-view mirror.
Keep driving. Keep learning. Keep writing. Keep preaching. Keep being faithful. You can do it.