Tuesday, August 23, 2016

first time in all these years....

My post a few days ago "Rules vs. Healing" was a big part of my sermon Sunday.

Afterwards, a man who's there most weeks and doesn't receive communion said to me, matter of fact like, "if that sermon was for me, it didn't work."

These are small churches, so I notice if someone doesn't receive communion. And my sermon was about the rules about baptism and communion. But I've told him several times he was welcome and he's thanked me and told me he wouldn't.

I've never asked him 'why?' because I think receiving communion is a very public and very private thing, both at the same time. I just want him to know he's welcome.

But what showed up for me in the first time in 41 years of doing this preaching stuff, that he--and how many others?--have thought I was 'preaching to them'?

I'm never 'preaching to them'. What my preaching is about is 'preaching to me'--saying stuff outloud and in public that I think I need to hear. It has never occurred to me that I was 'preaching AT' anyone but myself.

Lots of people over the years have told me, "I really needed to hear that" and things like that, but I always assumed they just needed to hear what I needed to hear, along with me.

Now I have to ponder--what if people think I'm 'preaching at them'?

I don't like the thought--but I need to ponder it.

I do.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.