Tuesday, October 28, 2008


On Sunday, I'm scheduled to give my inaugural sermon in our new church community. That's right, two days before the American election, a fellow who's spent more time in Canada than in the US over the last 30 years gets to offer a final word from the pulpit here in Chicago. I doubt that I'll be able to match the rhetoric ormedia interest of Jeremiah Wright. Nonetheless I have been looking forward to this opportunity, working hard in hopes that my "inaugural" would somehow be noteworthy.

The lectionary text is Joshua 3:7-17, Israel crossing the Jordan. God instructs Joshua to have the priests lead the way, carrying the Ark--the place of God's presence in their midst. The primary point seems pretty obvious: it's not about Joshua or his leadership, it's about God opening up the way before his people come what may (in this case a very flooded river).

One might think I'd have taken the lesson to heart, realized that my goal should be to stay in the background so that the Word could be foregrounded, etc. Alas and alack ... many of us, and certainly I, am a vain creature. Thinking ahead to the event I regularly found myself imagining my presence, voice, leadership in this "first exposure" event.

God thought otherwise.

Over the past few days, I've been struck down with a bad head cold/flu. I'm full of mucus. My nose drips incessantly. It's ugly and off-putting. Even if I wanted to, I shouldn't shake people's hands, embrace them in greeting, or get near them.

By Sunday, I hope to at least be able to preach without coughing too much. To accomplish that, I'll need to forego pulpit theatrics and passionate vocal outbursts and just voice the Word in more ordinary tones and speech. All I will be able to do is let my voice carry it out there.

As always, it's best if God does the rest.

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