So, it's not just my final sermon (tentatively called "The Last Word") that I'm working on. I'm working on my final sermons. Getting my last licks in. Thinking about what still needs to be said. Trying to finish strong, and offer the full counsel of God.
I imagine it'll take a while after I retire for my brain to quit working on sermons automatically. Sermon illustrations shape themselves in my head even as I experience various things. Objects stimulate thoughts to be worked into children's lessons. Hymns, psalms, the ever-repeating pattern of praise, confession, communion has been my life's work. As the journalist and sometime politician Winston Churchill put it, "I live mouth to hand," meaning, I live by talking, writing, teaching, communicating.
The pastoral routine is a matter of week after week, season by season, over and over. Sermons, newsletter articles, reports, lessons. I'm looking forward to a less demanding pace for inspiration. To quote Hebrews out of context, "Nevertheless, there remaineth a rest for the people of God."