Back at the beginning of April I looked ahead at my calendar, and I was filled with dread. I had a lot to do at the end of April, and that looked like it would continue through the whole of May. So I did what any sane person would do. On the 2nd April I sat with God and the scriptures, and I prepared a sermon for Sunday 5th May.
I was delighted when I opened John 21 and God spoke to me in such a way that the notes and words filled my notebook page effortlessly. Wonderful! I breathed easier as I knew what God wanted me to notice, and what I could share with my parish. I needn’t add ‘write sermon’ to my to do list of terror, because it was done and I had a brilliant time with God whilst I was doing it.
You’ll be surprised to hear then that I did not preach about how Jesus invites us to have breakfast with him nor about how we respond to that invitation. I even had 3 nicely packaged options: do we come with urgency? Obedience? Worship? I had gone through my sermon with my training incumbent on Wednesday at my supervision meeting. Everything was ready.
And yet, when I stood up to preach, something came over me and words came out of my mouth that I had not prepared. The message that came out was not one I recognised from the pages of my notebook. I spoke of calling and comfort and transformation.
Maybe one day I’ll get to preach that sermon God and I prepared together. But maybe it was just for me.