Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Just preaching

I haven't led worship or played guitar during our Sunday worship gatherings for the past three weeks. The first Sunday it was because we had no one to run the sound board or powerpoint, so I did both. We could have gotten by, but I have wanted to transition away from the music side for some time, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Right now we just have Jane on keyboard, a drummer, and a singer. I wish we had more instruments, and I'd like to get some other people involved in leading the singing too, but aside from being weird not being up there, it has been GREAT for me personally. It's so nice just being able to SING on Sunday mornings, and not having to worry about transitions, and music, and breaking guitar strings, or getting out of tune, or losing my voice, or anything but preaching. Maybe more than that, though, is that I don't feel near as drained afterward. In fact, I think it has kind of invigorated my preaching. I used to always feel kind of out of breath by the time I preached. And I always felt bad if we did anything with anyone after church. It was really hard for me to make conversation or be attentive, because I was totally spent - physically and emotionally. I think people used to think I didn't care about them or that I was being rude. I was simply exhausted.

I'm waiting for someone to suggest they should cut my pay now though. Even though I didn't lead singing when I first came here. But three weeks ago, the first Sunday I didn't do it, I was at the sound board and several people turned around and looked at me when the singing started. I think it had just become expected that I led the singing AND did the preaching. I'm glad we have other capable people who can do it instead. My problem is... I would like to play guitar, but I can't be up front or I will take charge. So I had to completely remove myself. And, for me anyway, it's been nice to turn it over to someone else and not worry about it. Maybe someday I can play the guitar again (unless, of course, I could find someone else to do it - which would be best).

Of course, it's not like "just preaching" is all that easy in and of itself. I take it pretty seriously, and I like to be well prepared. I rarely preach "home run" sermons, but it's not like getting up in front of a crowd and baring your soul every week (with no feedback) or trying to explain the Bible is a piece of cake anyway. I've always liked this little ditty by Bruce Thielemann...
The pulpit calls those anointed to it as the sea calls its sailors. And like the sea it batters and bruises and does not rest. To preach, to really preach, is to die naked a little at a time, and to know each time you do it that you are going to have to do it again.

Even on my best Sundays I feel pretty naked. I can only think of a couple times over the last nine years where I actually felt somewhat "good" after preaching. I almost always want to quit every Monday. But by the next Sunday I'm ready to go again (usually).

I don't know what any of this means. Just rambling. One thing I've noticed though... I picked up the guitar yesterday... and my fingers are out of practice. Ouch.