This week, my youngest daughter asked what I was preaching on this week, and then asked how it was that I came up with something different to say each week. I was a little surprised by the question because normally she is spending all her time at the back of the church in the Kid’s Korner, and certainly acting as if she is not paying any attention to what I have to say each week, although occasionally she will make some comment about the sermon, or ask me a question about it, so I know she’s at least occasionally paying attention. But I certainly never expected her to ask how I decided what to preach on, and it’s a question that few people have asked me over the years. I told her there were lots of things that went into it, and one of the most important was what I thought that we needed to hear, and as a corollary of that what I was feeling called to preach on.
Now they say that a normal preacher has only one sermon that they deliver every week, just in different ways. Good preachers have two sermons they give over and over in different ways. And great preachers have three sermons that they give in different ways. Now whether I am a great preacher or not, I like to think that I have at least three different sermons that I preach, and yet for the past few months, it feels like I keep coming back to the same messages again and again. Perhaps I’m like the new preacher who gave exactly the same sermon on loving our neighbor as ourselves for the first three weeks he was at the church. When the leadership told him perhaps it would be a good idea for him to preach on something else, he said “Once you’ve got a hang of loving all, then we’ll move onto something else.” Or, perhaps, I’ve simply become a little unoriginal in my messages.