Lost sheep -context & community
today I was on 8am & 9.30 at one church, and 11 at another; one set of readings, basically one sermon. This is not an unusual situation and I know from experience that the sermons, though basically similar, will vary according to context, and because they change as I come up with different emphases and ideas as I go..
so today, preaching on the gospel reading – the parable of the lost sheep,
8 o’clock was “ok” pretty much what I’d written, felt a bit ploddy but then I’m really not properly awake at ten past 8, really…
9.30 and I’d woken up a bit -substantially larger congregation gives more feedback as you preach, and I’d worked through a few of the ideas as I’d vocalised them at 8 -this is why I write my sermons to start with, the extrovert in me doesn’t really know what she is thinking until she says it – so round one is the “script” which I rarely stick to precisely anyway.
Fast forward to 11o’clock at the other church – I rush in at 10.57 and get told there are 9, no 10, no 11 families that have come back to receive baptism candles! this is somewhat unheard of, and they haven’t all come just mum, dad & baby, there are grandparents & Godparents too. Cue swift prayers and a reworking of the themes, as I judge 2/3 of the congregation are basically unchurched . I felt I was taking it on as a challenge! Get them to listen! … Judge for yourself 😉