Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday Night Specials
When in seminary, we called them "Saturday Night Specials." Most of us had rather hectic weeks of wearing too many hats at the same time. Going to school full-time, serving a church part-time, and being a husband and (as it was for many) father all the time could make for a very full week. It usually meant something important suffered. What suffered was often our preaching. Writing sermons was different from writing a paper for a professor. Sermons were not subject to grading pass or fail. Congregations were much too kind and merciful to pass such judgments on the preaching. "Enjoyed the sermon, Preacher," was about all the front door crowd ever offered.
Those hectic busy weeks often meant that sermons got written on Saturday night. Anyone who has preached and certainly anyone who has to listen knows Saturday night is too late to be writing a sermon to be preached the next morning. But, alas, it is not a perfect world and many an imperfect sermon has been carried into the pulpit with a hope and a prayer that it will be better than it should be.
Tomorrow I carry into the pulpit one of these "Saturday Night Specials." I actually started the sermon work on Monday and worked on it through the week. While it has not suffered from a lack of time and prayer invested in it, there still seemed to be something missing as I came to the moment of holding it in my hands on Saturday evening. When I printed the sermon before midnight took us to Sunday, I wondered if what I did took care of what was missing. To be honest, I am not sure. It is one of those days when I know if it (the sermon) happens, it will be because the Spirit intervened to do what I have been unable to do. Of course, any preacher knows this thing about the Spirit is always true, but sometimes it is more evident.