Some weeks are hard for preaching. I usually am able to take the time to get into the texts and to prayerfully discuss them with colleagues and to stew over the gospel message as I do the things that it takes to be the church... and other things as well.
But some weeks, there is too much to do to take the time to write a manuscript. I lose hours of sleep on Saturday evening and Sunday morning painstakingly typing out the right words to say. I have always been a manuscript preacher and it takes so much more time... on the front end at least.
This last week, I had no time to write. I had thought and thought and thought... but there was no time to sit at my computer and write. I sat through deep theological conversations on death and life and the new creation (which was my sermon topic)... but there was no time to sit and write. I wrestled with what God was calling me to preach... but there was no time to sit and write. I spent time with friends I haven't seen in a year... and there was no time to write.
Sunday morning at 6:15, I got up and took some of the jumbled thoughts that had filled my life for a full seven days and jotted them down. I put the stories in order. I found the natural flow of the message. I connected the gospel to the epistle in a quick comparison and contrast. I knew where I wanted to get and I trusted God would get it there. (or, rather, I thought I knew where God wanted us all to get and I prayed God would send the Spirit) And I let it be.
I think that Sunday morning - even with only 4 hours of sleep - was a good morning for preaching. Thanks be to God the Spirit showed up. Thanks be to God that I had the courage to step away from the pulpit to tell a story for only the second time since I've been here. Thanks be to God that I didn't have it all written out and that the message flowed through me. Thanks be to God.