Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I remember them all.  There have been ten in all including the one that is filled in these retirement days.  What caused the counting was my thinking about what is happening this week.  This is the time of the year when preachers who are moving actually move to their new appointment.  Tomorrow is the traditional moving day in this Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Next Sunday a good number of preachers will be standing in new pulpits.  Some of the ones from which I have preached have been more elaborate than others, some have been higher than others, but all of them have been places set aside for the preaching of God's Word to the people of God.  How they look is not nearly as important as what happens there when God's people gather.

Preaching from a new pulpit is like moving into a new house.  When we move into a new place, our memory tells us where everything is supposed to be.  The only problem is the new house has light switches and corners in different places and it takes time before we become comfortable with new surroundings.  My experience with pulpits has been much the same.  It takes time to get comfortable preaching in a new pulpit.  No matter how many pulpits have been a part of a preacher's history, a new one is a new one and it just takes some time to feel at home and comfortable while doing the preaching.  In time it becomes such a familiar and comfortable place, but not usually on the first Sunday.

Fortunately, what does not change is the message.  The setting may be different.  The people facing the preacher may have different names and faces.  The lighting may be different.  Everything may be different, but not the message.  Regardless of where the preacher stands to preach, the message to be preached is the same message that was preached from the very beginning.  Style and form may change, but not the message.  The preacher is the one who speaks on behalf of God and the one whose charge is to point people to Jesus.   After some preaching, the pulpit will begin to feel like home, but from the very beginning what can be proclaimed is the unchanging word about this One named Jesus who has come to save us and to finally take us home.

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