Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walking on water?

I’m writing this on Sunday morning, watching Edublogger’s latest keynote – or second latest or whatever – and growing slightly concerned by the realisation that I’m preaching in just over an hour and I haven’t delivered the sermon to the mirror, or even timed it. I usually do this, but I’ve had friends staying for the past three days and time has flown, in talking, walking and – inevitably – catering.

I have been thinking about this sermon, however, for the past three weeks (that’s when I found out it was my turn). And for once, almost all of my subject-matter is my own – either self-generated or springing from conversation with Kimberly – with one theological area which was new to me but which made something else fall into place.

And where does Ewan’s video come into it? Well, I still hanker after the ease with which I used to teach my own subject – that total familiarity which allowed for a rapport with my students and the chance that I too might enjoy the experience. The audience in the video is an adult one, as mine will be in – woops – an hour. I have my bullet points, and the full script as backup. But I know that something vital to the process will be missing.

No-one will put their hand up. No-one will volunteer an answer to a rhetorical question. no-one will burst out laughing – though that will probably be because I’ll be inhibited too. And no-one really imagines that I have any authority to be telling them anything.

I’m an English teacher, not a theologian. I’m a good teacher, I have expertise in language and literature – but few people recognise that there is skill involved here. I’m perfectly happy talking to adults, but I’d find a crowd at a demonstration less challenging than a tiny congregation who have known me for years. And so I’ll stick to my bullet-points and not make any asides, and I hope I’ll not be boring and that maybe – just maybe – some Good News will seep through the cracks.

Here we go.

Footnote: I've often said that we of the Lay Team should be subjected to the equivalent of a student teacher's Crit Lesson - a Mystery Worshipper sort of thing. Today I had my MW in the shape of the Primus. Beware of what you ask for ....


  1. Anonymous10:11 AM

    You'll do just fine. I'll be praying for you, as I pray for myself before a Eucharist, that through my words, someone might get the strength and the faith to make it through another week.

  2. Ah, but you didn't stick to your bullet points, did you? The Spirit got in the way.

    Preaching is different to teaching. Your teaching and speaking skills certainly help, but the feeling that you need to be in control will only ever get in the way.

  3. Well, Miss Chris, how did it go then?

    From what Kimberly says, it sounds like the Lord gave you a different path to follow? I love it when this happens....

  4. Hoping that it ended up being "walking on water" and not "up the creek" in the end. You would have liked the session we did today, written up by AB:

    Presenting isn't preaching, but I know very few people who actually enjoy being presented TO or preached AT. We all want to be more involved, even if we don't have the answers to the rhetorical questions straightaway. The challenge to think differently is always appreciated.

  5. Where did I hear just in the last day or two someone say that in Scotland, if we saw someone walking on water, we'd only say "Would you look at that? Cannae even swim." :-)
    Glad you seem to have been inspired anyway.

  6. Didn't seem to be up the creek - not too far anyway. Did enjoy AB's summing-up - looks to have been a good day. The difference in style/technique required in different situations is fascinating - and something teachers maybe tend not to think about too often?