"May the words from the mouth of one fallible preacher, and the meditations of all our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, our Rock and our Redeemer."
As I begin to preach, I lead the congregation in this prayer. The single sentence carries much meaning for me. First, the word I use to describe myself in this prayer is "fallible". I am humbled by the great trust placed within me to bring the message. You trust me to come prepared, to have prayed about the message, and to choose my words carefully to communicate as clearly as possible. I am ever mindful of my human flaws, and usually the message is directed as much to me as to everyone else.
Second, the "meditations of all our hearts" conveys the insights, questions, or ideas that may have come to you during the sermon. I appreciate hearing from you and hope you share your thoughts on the sermon with me. You are welcome to call, email, or visit with me.
Third, I refer to God as our "Rock and Redeemer." In these days of uncertainty, violence and change, the prayer reminds us that God is the rock upon which we can cling. Because of God's grace, second chances, opportunities to get it right the next time, are possible. Thanks be to God.
While I do plan to follow the lectionary readings, I also preach sermon series where I will have a common theme over the course of several weeks. Through the month of August, the theme will be favorite hymns where the stories behind the hymns, the composers and authors will be shared. I hope you will find new meaning in these old favorites. In September, the theme will be "Stories of Our Faith" where I will need your input to help me develop the sermons.
As I get to know you personally, I will be listening for stories about your jobs, where you were on Sept. 11, a time when you had to trust God, and how you first came to the church. My hope is that as I get to know you, you will get to know one another better too!
I look forward to living the preaching life amongst you!