There are thousands of preachers gathered in the metro area this week. The annual Festival of Homiletics is underway, and the great names in the world of preaching are gathered to feed those who feed flocks weekly.
I am finding myself overwhelmed in a way strange to me. I’m not overwhelmed by the shining stars whose work I admire greatly. I am taking in their words and notions and finding room for gratitude.
What I am overwhelmed by is the sometimes huge feeling thing that is serving as a mouthpiece of the gospel. I look around me and see people who have given their lives to bringing to voice teachings timeless in their power and transformative in their reach and what I see are tender and hopeful and vulnerable and a trifle beat-up folk.
I am one of that number.
We serve the movement of Jesus in a time complex and challenging. It has ever been thus. We read books a plenty about how to cook up church in a way that will be palatable and maybe even delicious to a starving-for-meaning world and we scurry and fret and what we (and that “we” would mean me here) so often experience is a sort of Holy amnesia. We are so busy trying to be God that we forget that God is in the midst of things and God has it. The church will be what the church will be. We just need to be open and set a nourishing table of grace. God will provide. So we say. So we sometimes believe.
Lives have been given over to the preaching of the Word. We want to do it well. We tremble at the task. We enter pulpits and pray to make room for the amazement that is grace and we are human and so much tender courage in one place is overwhelming.
Pray for preachers. We want so much.