I started writing this sermon a month ago... yeah right. God always throws us curveballs. The first curve was that the alumni association would be here. The second -- well, there are so MANY of them, we switched to the larger (less cozy/friendly) chapel. The third -- the recent death of my friend Hans. The fourth -- the surprising intensity of grief, which is quite taxing to the mental facilities such as they may be.
Well I wrote a sermon. My brain had slowed to an absolute crawl by last night so I just held it up to God and tried to get some sleep. I picked at my pancakes with Rachel this morning, and set off to the chapel. Plan A was to preach entirely through the sermon (alone), make some revisions, and re-print a new manuscript, but nothing was really going Plan A at this point. A minute after I arrived, the organist Jack arrived and wanted to practice. The good thing is, God's plan is always better than our plans. So instead of freaking out and reprinting my sermon, I took off shoes and socks and danced to the tune of Hyfrydol - Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.
The Alumni association entered, a prelude was played, and apparently the president of our good school asked the student sitting next to him - "who's preaching today? I certainly wouldn't want to be in her shoes."
It's hard to describe the absolute emptiness I felt as we prayed and began the service. The shaking of the body, the gasping of the spirit, the effort of collecting every ounce of strength for the task at hand. Having less than little strength, someOne else must have supplied me.
The sermon is posted below. I went over time but apparently that's okay. Charles (the chaplain) and I sang the Isaiah Jones jazz communion liturgy and my voice stayed strong. We served 80... 100 people? The body of Christ for you... for you... and we join hands in a circle afterwards. We always do. Usually there are less people, and the presiders can be part of the circle. There was no room today so Charles and I stayed out of the circle, and held one another's hands. Hence I had a hand out to the side. I held it out for Hans. Took a firm grip of the faith in the resurrection I had just proclaimed. It is, after all, the table of the feast of the Kingdom of God we were circled around.
I benedicted, received my peace of Christ, and collapsed into arms after loving arms of friends until I could finally go collapse into the post-sacramental nap. I often pray, before preaching, that we may "spend and be spent in the reading, preaching, hearing, & doing of Thy Word," and I think I'll be more careful about that request in the future. I got fully spent today.