For some reason I enabled the “reminder” feature on my computer, which means I get alerts about approaching meetings, events and commitments. I say “for some reason” because sometimes it is more annoying than helpful.
Last week this feature alerted me to the necessity of preparing this column and so I did what I usually do, which is to mentally start sorting through possible topics. I also chatted with a colleague about what might be interesting.
There are lots of subjects, of course, lots of fertile possibilities, but each felt to me like I was filling up space. This is a bit like the challenge of preaching, at times.
I have no desire to fill the congregation or your time with filler, I want it to be meaningful. Oh, I admit that there were things to write about, but I had no sense that it was more than meeting an obligation. The night before the deadline I finally had some quiet time and I approached the task with some focus. It wasn’t quite desperation-mode, but there was some added intensity. Still nothing. A couple of ideas seemed do-able, but frankly, neither moved me especially. And if they aren’t moving for me, why would you be any more interested?
So, I prayed. I had slipped into the practice of assuming that I could handle things just fine. “Don’t worry about this, God, I’ve got it.” A sure sign of the weighty reality of this problem is when you find yourself saying, “There’s nothing to do but pray.” Pardon? When did prayer become the last item, the most desperate act? In Christian tradition it is supposed to be where we begin, a foundation of our being and living. So, I prayed and, yes, within moments I swear I could sense God chuckling.
I get it, God. Point taken.
Rev. Phil Spencer, St. Stephen’s United Church, QB.