Last week I simply ran out of time.
I never wanted to be the Saturday afternoon (evening) sermon writing pastor. I find it very stressful to be sitting down late Saturday and realize there are hours of work ahead due by the following morning. It is true that I work more focused with that bit of adrenaline behind me, but it is also true that like any drug you have to keep pushing to get that same adrenaline kick. For instance, it used to be that the adrenaline hit at noon on Saturday, then 3, then it would have to be after dinner time before I would really start to panic.
In the last few months I was getting increasingly frustrated with landing on Saturday and finding my sermons needing to be done from scratch. TDH encouraged me to carve out some time for sermon writing. Well, duh... but he was right in that as simple as it sounds I wasn't doing it.
As a solo pastor - and I guess as any pastor - there is always something that needs to be done, some fire that needs to be put out. The challenge is to as early as Wednesday - let it burn. Start the sermon. It is a great idea that I have managed to pull off exactly once - the first weekend of February when I knew I had family coming into town and a birthday party to throw for The Boy and I really didn't want the sermon hanging over my head.
Last week I was at the hospital all day Tuesday, worked on my sermon a bit on Wednesday morning, trained a new Administrative Assistant on Thursday, continued the training and ran the bulletin on Friday, did a wedding and had my computers taken away on Saturday and found myself for the first time ever sitting in worship on Sunday morning with no second half of my sermon written. I hadn't even really outlined it.
So mirroring what I did earlier in the service during a baptism I walked into the congregation and spoke about the sermon topic off of the top of my head, managing to keep my eye on the clock and give an ending that sounded like a reasonable semblance of a point.
In the comments at the Saturday preacher party I described my plan like this: My plan is to literally walk amongst them and make up a sermon ending and hope that as Presbyterians the fear they will feel that I might touch them or ask them a question during the sermon will keep them from asking themselves, "Is she saying anything?
The thing is it worked. The feedback I received was that it was a great sermon, but I know it wasn't. I know it was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. But if I am rewarded for such behavior how do I hold myself accountable to doing more? How do I get out of this Saturday evening/Sunday morning (yikes!) rut? How do I get everything done including the research and effort needed for a weekly paper and presentation?
No answers yet and my head is pounding and so for now I will stick with the rest of my comment from last Saturday night... Personal prayers, reflection apologies with God and a Holy Nap.