I supplied a pulpit of another denomination than my own with my warm body, my exegesis, and a sermon that went through so many metamorphoses this week I was afraid it might have a frozen smile, like someone with too much Botox. It didn't, though.
May I just say, "Thank You God for people who nod and smile and even-- good, good Lord-- shout out an occasional 'Amen'"?
Three people from a search committee (by whom I have already been interviewed a number of times) came to hear me preach this morning. That added a frisson of anxiety, but, honestly, I wasn't sweating it.
Suddenly, this week, I believe in the call process. Abruptly, it occurs to me that people usually end up where they're supposed to be. So... I was free this morning to tell the congregation what I learned in my bible study this week, free to really pray for a word from God to them, a church for whom I will preach a total of two times. I was free not to have to preach my Best Sermon Ever. (I couldn't even pick that puppy out of a line-up at this point. Honestly. Haven't a clue).
And, this morning, I was free to receive the preaching of the congregation. I was free to be open to the Spirit of God as it moved among them, during a positively uproarious hymn and period of greeting one another, during a children's message for which one of my own offspring was recruited to act a part. I was free to experience a congregation that is so full of love for a departed pastor in a difficult transition that they prayed and wept for him un-self-consciously.
Before I stood to read the scripture, a sermon had already been preached and I had received its blessing. The rest... is whipped cream.