Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm no preacher

Well, at least I'm not enough of one to feel like I should apply for the big preaching prize at Fuller. It's funny - it's something I've been wanting to go for my entire time there. I knew about it even before I thought of going there - years ago, I went to a church that produced several winners in a row. So I'm sad because now the time finally came, and it turns out that I'm not really qualified to apply.

See, you have to be "committed to a parish pulpit ministry." Now as much as I would love to be, I can't say that I am. Mostly this is not my fault. Well in some ways it is, but not directly - the point is that the door to such a ministry has been firmly shut (and shutting over and over again) for the last four years. So even though in my heart I think I would love such work, and be wonderful at it, it just doesn't seem to be my path. So how can I apply for the fellowship knowing that? I'd just be stroking my ego about my preaching abilities, and that's not necessary. I have gifts and I'm tremendously grateful for them. I'm thrilled that Fuller taught me how to preach and how to keep stoking my gifts. I know that when I preach, people are moved and they hear from God. That's better than any old prize.

But still, it's like the end of an era or something...the end of a long-held dream. It slipped away without my really realizing it. And I would have so loved to have spent a year traveling. I even had a plan: I was going to go to England and study how worship renewal can be sparked by preaching, as it was in the Oxford Movement. Pretty cool idea, huh?

I do hope that I will preach again a guest, if nothing else. I really can do it. I really do love it.

Anyway, the application requires a New Testament sermon, and my favorite sermon I've done is from the OT. Oh, but I wish I could preach it to my classmates! It's a sermon that's just for them. I don't think I'll ever give it outside of a minister's group. I wistfully used to dream of preaching it in chapel. It's just a message I want my friends to hear.

You know, that's what all my preaching ends up being. Usually it's just a message I need to hear and I assume other people want to as well. Usually it's something very simple like "God loves you." I mean, if we could just get that through our heads. Our lives would be utterly different.

OK, I'm making myself cry (damn preggo hormones) so I'm going to stop my pity party now. You can go read my favorite sermon again if you want. I know it blessed a lot of you (it got the most lovely comments), and for that at least, I am grateful.

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