I have been asked if I miss preaching? My honest answer: No. I miss worship leadership. I miss putting together worship experiences that give glory to God along with God’s Word proclaimed. I don’t have to be the person “proclaiming” what I believe to be God’s sacred/inspired Word.
I miss knowing that liturgy and music have made a connection with congregants as I look out upon them in worship. A pleasant surprise has been in sitting with my wonderful wife giving glory to God in worshipping together. This is a first for us in my being a pastor for almost forty years.
I have now been out of the pulpit for over a year. On disability, I have health issues that make it challenging to climb steps or walk long distances. I am not currently accepting preaching assignments. I am now enjoying worship from the perspective of those sitting in the pew. I enjoy singing hymns – some that I never used before in my worship planning. I delight in seeing the small army of children coming forward for a children’s message knowing that I am not responsible for planning it.
I enjoy hearing God’s Word proclaimed. I also find myself going to the internet to listen to worship services and sermons from colleagues who broadcast their messages often preaching on similar lectionary texts. It’s fascinating to hear how different preachers bring different twists and turns to God’s sacred Word.
Do I miss preaching? No. Well maybe — sometimes! 🙂
Will I return to the pulpit? Honestly, I don’t know. If physically able, I can see myself filling in if a colleague is facing an emergency and needs a worship leader. I can always find a sermon within me. Like riding a bicycle, I don’t think I’ve forgotten why I became a “Minister of Word and Sacrament” in the first place. While I continue to feel called to be a preacher I am still struggling with how this “call” fits in with being on disability approaching retirement.
These are my thoughts on this snowy day. It’s now time to prepare to join with my wife for morning worship at Second Presbyterian Church in Saginaw, MI.