I'm worried

February 24, 2011

It is 3:13 on Thursday afternoon and I still have eight sermons bouncing
around in my skull. I'm not so much worried about tomorrow, I'm certain
this Friday will have enough worries of its own. I'm not even worried
about Saturday evening's five15 because the conversation format means I
don't have to have one direction nailed down when the service starts. I
am worried about Sunday because that's what I do. Every weekend that I
preach I worry about Sunday until it is over and then I say, "Why was I
so worried? The Holy Spirit carried me through again, just like every
other time."

Not that I ever dare step into the pulpit unprepared. I'm always
prepared. Which, I suppose is part of the problem. I read so much,
think so much, listen so much that by the time I put finger to keyboard
I've got at least eight different directions bouncing around my skull.

I'm probably more worried this week because, come Sunday, I have to tell
people why they shouldn't worry. Kind of hard to preach "do as I say
and not as I do", but then again, I've done that before too (think -
keep the sabbath, love your enemies, be thankful in all things).

The stupid Collect for Sunday isn't helping either. We pray to be
preserved from FAITHLESS fears, and WORLDLY anxieties. We announce to
God that his will for us is to give thanks for ALL things, to fear
NOTHING but the loss of him, and to cast all of our cares upon him who
cares for us. Yikes.

So, now it is 3:20 on Thursday and I'm still worried. Worried not that I
won't have anything to say come Sunday, I will, I always do. Worried
instead that I'll be typing those words at 11pm on Saturday night.
Worried that what I do say will be vapid or, worse yet, trite (stupid
Bobby McFerin stuck in my head).

Preacher friends, are you worried? Non-preacher friends, do you pray for
your preachers that they might be relieved of writer's block and pulpit
anxiety? If you don't, if you wouldn't mind starting now, it would be
greatly appreciated.

Originally posted at Draughting Theology.



Yes, Steve, I too am worried about Sunday for all the same reasons. I am worried about being worried - about how to show as little of my hypocrisy as possible to the congregation . . . about job security as I approach retirement age (well, what used to be that) . . . about the fact that I recently admitted my worries to a parishioner who will most likely hear my sermon on not worrying. . . . and on and on. But may I add that I love just such challenges when preparing a sermon. Perhaps the preacher who does not worry has the most about which to worry??!!

The Rev. Dorothy Chatham Hartzog
Trinity Episcopal Church
Clarksville, TN