an inconvenient epiphany: a preacher’s lament

It’s when, early on a Sunday morning,
after a week of Scripture study,
a week of worship preparation and sermon writing,
a new perspective—a new insight
dawns—
early Sunday morning, remember.
And you think to yourself,
“No! No! No! Not now! Not now!”

But it’s too late.

Well, then you begin to furiously think through what you have.
“Will it fit into what I’ve got?
Is there time to make it fit into what I’ve got?
Do I have to get rid of what I’ve got?”

And the chancel becomes the site of this silent worship prayer
(or one like unto it):
“I pray this insight
that dawned so brightly—
just a few short hours ago,
shines through what I have written and what I say,
that the logic in which it’s placed holds firm,
that the imagery in which it’s cloaked displays it
helpfully and beautifully,
that its interpretation hits home.
And I pray, counting on the people of this congregation
to be less critical and more hopeful—
less focused on what I do (and how)
than on what You are doing in and through our worship.
May they ever be looking beyond what I say
to what I’m trying to say—
ever anticipating more than I can possibly deliver.”

I do so much prefer planned epiphanies—
scheduled ones that fit so nicely into the flow of what is
and don’t leave me so prayerfully … stressed.

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