FROM PASTOR DAVID’S DESK
If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
(Galatians 5: 25)
I am probably one of the few people who really enjoys the requirement of two weeks of Continuing Education that pastors are supposed to do each year. Maybe it is because I spent most of my life in an academic world. It is not that I am any smarter than anyone else; it is just that I like to learn, which would probably come as a surprise to many of my high school teachers. Maturity may have something to do with birth of my love of learning.
As many of you know, I spent the week of May 14th in San Antonio, Texas, at a Homiletics Festival. What is that you may ask? Well, it is a conference on the art of preaching. Over 1,800 preachers from all denominations and from all over North America gather each year to hear and study with the best of the best. These gurus of preaching not only write books and teach university classes about preaching, but they actually preach. There were eight of us from the Eastern Synod in attendance. The morning session and the afternoon session always begin with a worship service and one of the experts actually does the sermon. Following worship that same person gives a lecture on his or her preaching. There are also special lectures and events in the evening.
I find the worship services nourish my soul and the lectures challenge my intellect. I also find this a very humbling experience. It is impossible to hit a “home run” sermon every Sunday, but we pastors keep trying. It amazes me how the message I hear in a sermon can be very different from the message one of my colleagues hears. But I guess I should not be surprised because often on Sunday morning someone will say something about how a sermon I just finished spoke to him or her in a way I did not see coming. I love when that happens.
When two or more are gathered the Holy Spirit is with us. I firmly feel and believe this to be true. The Sunday morning sermon would be just a bunch of words without the intervention of the Spirit in the writing, delivering, and understanding the sermon. When we gather on Sunday morning it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes our time together special, different from any other gathering.
The Day of Pentecost is Sunday, June 4th, this year. On this day we celebrate the Holy Spirit as the power of God among us that heals, forgives, inspires, and unites. We also celebrate the birth of the church, the community of God’s people central to God’s work in the world. It is comforting to know that we are never alone, that the Spirit is always with us, on Sunday morning as we gather for worship and fellowship, when we are at home wrestling with a passage of scripture, when we are ministering to others in God’s world, and for some of us as we try to write a “home run” sermon.