Monday, June 29, 2009
I remember getting my first two wheeler when I was six. It was a 24 inch bike which was too big for me, but like a lot of other things, it was purchased with the assumption, "He will grow into it!" And I did, but it was only after a lot of bruises and cuts. It is a good memory, though, as it is one of the things I can remember my Daddy teaching me to do. As I remember learning to ride that bike, I remember it as being an exciting thing when I finally came to that point where no other hands were holding me up and I was wobbling along on my own.
This forgotten memory somehow came to mind today in a preacher's meeting as someone said, "If you don't know how to preach, you can learn." It made me think about the days when I first started learning to preach. While I had a course in seminary, the real learning started taking place when I arrived at my first preaching appointment. As I started remembering learning to preach, I found myself back in the Stapleton sanctuary. It was one of the three churches I served as my first appointment. It was at Stapleton that I started preaching without anything holding me up. By "holding me up" I mean notes and manuscript and such. It was there that I decided to try preaching without taking notes or manuscript to the pulpit. I remember wanting my preaching to be more exciting to those who were listening and decided that preaching without anything to hold me up would be more exciting for me. In my youthful way of thinking, I figured that it might make it more exciting for my congregation.
I did a lot of falling at first. I wobbled more than just a bit, but I did learn. It has shaped a lifetime of preaching. It has become my way of giving back to God what I trust that He has given to me to work with and to pray over. When the preparation is done, I like to think it is returned to Him with the request, "When You give it back on Sunday morning, do whatever editing You wish. After all, it is Your Word!" But, the truth is that good preaching always requires that Someone hold you up. Otherwise, falling is inevitable.