Often on a Sunday afternoon, after I’ve changed out of my church clothes and into jeans and a sweatshirt, after I’ve had a wee nap in the comfy chair, after I’ve unwound from All Things Sunday Morning, a creeping doubt comes into my head: what difference does a sermon make? I’m not fishing for compliments here. I’m pretty realistic about my sermons and I, like everyone else, am an above-average preacher.
About ten years ago I let go of worrying that every sermon I preached had to be wonderful and inspiring.
Two of my frequent routes include an arcade of trees. Neither is very long—one just a block, the other maybe a quarter-mile. But even when the branches are bare, the trees form this graceful archway that we drive through.
As I went though one the other day, I started wondering about the person or persons who planted those trees.
For months, at the urging of my spiritual director, I have been praying to find my heart’s desire, to find that thing (not a person—I have those) that inspires me, energizes me; my flow. But you pray for something long enough, and the prayer goes unanswered, and eventually you stop praying for the thing.
I recently spent a few days with some of my cousins on my mother’s side. Our families share land that is dear to all of us, and once a year we meet there to do some business and have a picnic and get caught up.