Preach -- Function: verb Etymology: Middle English prechen, from Anglo-French precher, from Late Latin praedicare, from Latin, to proclaim, make known, from prae- pre- + dicare to proclaim. Date: 13th century (from http://www.m-w.com/)
Notice in that etymology that there is nothing in the meaning of the word which implies arrogance, or special knowledge, or a high and mighty tone. It just means to proclaim. Preaching is proclamation. I have no problem with anyone using it as a verb to describe what he or she is doing on a Sunday morning (or any other day of the week).
Unless it is me, and I am the one saying it about myself. “I am pre….” See – it gets stuck in my throat, like a tennis ball – big, yellow and fuzzy. I am delivering the sermon at church this Sunday, and for me to call it preaching would feel like I was elevating myself “above my station.” Above my calling.
All that said, I have worked on planning the worship service this Sunday and on delivering the message to our congregation. It is Visioning Sunday, and the sermon is called “Of Wind and Wings.” It’s purpose it to try to convince our congregation to seek God’s will for our church and to implement it.
I pre…um…I delivered the sermon a year ago last October on Laity Sunday. I’ve talked before on the blog about how that experience convinced me that God will walk with us – with me – through a process such as sermon preparation. That he will in fact walk with me through any process in which he has led me. This one is no exception.
So, on Sunday, I will deliver the sermon, and I hope, somewhere in there, I will proclaim God’s word. I know that he has been involved in the preparation for that delivery. The problem is that God has me as a liability, and yet he uses me anyway. I can’t predict what the outcome will be, but I do know that the walk has been one in which I have experienced the nearer presence of God.
So, as the song below says, this is a very great place to be.
Beyond the music
Beyond the noise
All that I need
Is to be with you
And in the quiet
To hear your voice
Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain?
Washing my eyes to see
To be still and know
That you’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In your holiness.
Word of God speak.
(Mercy Me: Word of God Speak)
By the way, this is the first sermon I've delivered since completing the training for Certified Lay Speaker. Why does that seem to add additional pressure?