My sermon preparation follows the three Rs: read, write, and rehearse. Monday and Tuesday are reading days. I love to read scripture in the Latin Vulgate, for example; Frederick Buechner recommends that you get out of your native language so you can see the words differently. For commentaries I read the New Interpreter’s Bible (among others); my set once belonged to the library of Earl Eden, a delightful man who died a few years ago. Wednesday and Thursday are writing days: first a stream of consciousness freewrite, and later an outline of the message. On Friday and Saturday I rehearse the outline, internalizing the sermon and creating a mental manuscript of it. Preparation concludes as I preach the sermon from memory to my dog Jazz on her walk Saturday evening. St Francis preached to the birds, and I preach to my dog. She doesn’t care though; she’s more interested in scrounging on the ground and eating things we’d rather not know about.
I had a two hour visit this afternoon with a new widow. We sipped tea and talked about memories. After longer visits I always feel depleted, like Jesus when he knew that power had gone out of him. Now it is time to go to my yoga class, always a good way to restore the spirit.