I finally managed to get out of town (and away from the pulpit) for a weekend. I took my beautiful bride to Santa Barbara to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We had a great time without the kids in tow and without my mind constantly spinning off to worry about a sermon that needs to be proclaimed on Sunday. In fact on Sunday morning I found myself for the first time in quite a long time sitting where most of you sit on Sunday morning – in the pew. I had forgotten how uncomfortable it is to be subjected to a sermon, to sit there trying to guess from the readings where the sermon will go, wondering what effect this word will have upon me.
My poor wife who was finally given a break from wrestling with our kids in church now had to deal with me. She kept having to place her hand on my knee as if to tell me that everything was going to be “okay.” But it is a nerve racking moment to sit there without any control wondering if the pastor is going to deliver the goods, if the Gospel will be proclaimed or if you’re in for some sort candy coated crap designed to scrutinize a problem you don’t really have to give you answers to questions you weren’t asking. Sermons are precarious things and I hope I never forget what is at stake when they come falling down.