It’s rare that I finish a sermon a feel that I actually said what I meant to say. Preachers are their own worst critics, and the vacuous pleasantry “nice sermon, Pastor” doesn’t really give all that much feedback for me to work with. The general lack of emotion on the part of a good number of the folks in the pews doesn’t help all the much, either.
Today, however, was different. I was quite happy with the way the sermon went, and felt that the congregation “got it.” I base this on two pieces of evidence:
- I saw people shifting uncomfortably when I was pointing out the discrepancies between the summary-history of Hebrews 11 and the Old Testament narrative. I also saw their eyes light up when I pointed out that we should always remember that the books of the New Testament aren’t modern texts – and so we should expect them to work with different presuppositions about how to use Scripture (sadly, I forgot to use Jim’s, “The author of Hebrews is a rabbinic stud!” line, that bummed me out).
- When I got to the end of the sermon and pointed out that we are called to walk the same was as the OT saints (though, from a different perspective) I said we are to walk by….? The congregation eagerly responded, “By faith!” I did the a couple of times, as a matter of fact – and it was quite pleasing to see that folks had tracked with me to that point (not to mention that they got the point of the entire chapter).
So, here I sit on a Sunday afternoon feeling that God actually “did something” today. It’s nice to have that sense every now and again – it keeps me hoping.
On another note, I think one of the most encouraging things I’ve done at Church recently is to start singing with the worship team. There’s just a bigger sense that I’m “plugged in,” and the guys on the team are just plain fun to hang out with leading up to worship.