April 8th, 2012


That'll preach

Had someone come up to me today at church and enthusiastically compliment me on my rather off-the-cuff message this morning at the Sunrise service. As my parishioner talked about what he got out of it, though, it made me wonder if the message he thought he heard is the message I thought I gave. But then, that's the way God works. The Holy Spirit is not limited by my ability to speak nor by my hearers' ability to listen, only by how open we are to him.

Our conversation raised another issue as well. I had quoted rather extensively from J.R.R. Tolkien's essay On Fairy-Stories. I have quoted from this essay many times over the years, though never in so extensive -- and personal -- a way. When he complimented me on my use of it, I said that it was unusual for me to do what I did. He asked why. I replied, off-handedly, that I had learned years ago not to bore people too much with my personal enthusiasms. That mystified him. Why not share what moves you so deeply? Ah, but I remember being savagely put down for my enthusiasms, both as a college student and as a young preacher. Maybe now that I'm middle-aged, my enthusiasms and eccentricities have become part of my charm. But it wasn't always so.