Rev Brad to Preach at Creek Next Week
It’s not often that I preach a Sunday morning message at church — it actually never has been. As a hospice chaplain for some four years, and a pastoral care pastor for six my main moments of speaking or preaching have tended to revolve around a funeral or memorial service. Well, hopefully, next Sunday morning’s opportunity to preach at partner church Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church (located in Denver, Colorado) won’t feel like a funeral or memorial service!
A week ago, one of my daughters asked me how work was going.
“Well, there’s this sermon that I am trying to study and write and prepare for…” They could tell that it was weighing on me. I tried to explain that while it is a tremendous honor and privilege to be invited to preach at church, and especially at a church where you worship together as a family, that there is a weighty burden that often accompanies it (as it should) because we are handling and disseminating the very Word of God!
Add into this the very simple fact that I rarely preach (maybe x1 a year, every other year) and I have been telling people — you get what you pay for! There’s a pressure and a burden to deliver “your best sermon ever.” Think of the pressure, you went to seminary (even though it was 20 years ago) and you learned Hebrew and Greek and homiletics; you’re in ministry; you’re an ordained Teaching Elder in the denomination…should be a breeze right? Well, if I were crafting a podcast or writing up an article for the website or coming up with a 5-10 minute devotional for the team it’s a totally different story. But this sermon prep stuff is hard! It’s not what I am used to.
I shared some of this with Rev Kevin Hasenack (Rapids 2 chaplain) this past week when we met to discuss and debrief some of the Rapids chaplaincy needs. “I have a refreshed respect for you doing this week in and week out…” I told him. It was funny as he commiserated and even said — “Yeah, you probably feel like you have to hit not only a home run, but a grand slam!” What was funny was that as Kevin said these very words, a guy outside the coffee shop made a swing-for-the-fences motion that caught my eye. He did this a few more times as Kevin went on with his baseball metaphors, which made me laugh.
But for all of my complaining (and believe it’s likely to get worse as the week goes on and the moments approach), I am reminded of Paul’s charge to his young protégée, Timothy:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.Paul, 2nd Letter to Timothy 4:2
So I am readying myself — TBH, I probably wish it were more like a podcast or simple prayer and blessing — I’m much better at that it seems these days. But I pray that God is glorified and that for those listening and in attendance next week that the text of Acts 8 will come alive and that we will all be challenged by what God has to say — to me and to those I share with.
Sincerely from the Rev,