Last weekend, my awesome husband had a stomachache. Poor guy, I thought, and left for work. By the close of that day (and by “close,” I mean midnight) he was minus one inflamed appendix and I had already volunteered to preach for him on Sunday.
This is not something we do often, lightly, or really, ever. I have filled in at his churches probably twice, ever, over ten years, and he’s never filled in for me. But it made sense because my colleague could fill in for me at my church, and they also did not have to find someone else or pay me.
Anyway. I wrote a sermon, got to his church, and due to people finding out that he was gone and also a retreat that same day, the crowd was light. I mean, LIGHT. We’re talking “where two or three are gathered” kind of light.
When I preach these days at my congregation, I usually am in front of a total of about 450 people on a weekend. I LOVE IT. I thrive on feedback from the congregation, from a crowd, from murmuring and laughter, and the occasional answer back. It’s the best thing I do each week, when I can, to stand in front of a crowd and speak the word to them.
And now, a word from Eminem:
You better lose yourself in the music
The moment you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity only comes once in a lifetime, yo
And every single time I preach, I lose myself. I don’t know where I go, but it’s not of this world. And if I’m in front of three people or 500, I am GONE, losing myself in the music of what I am called to say. So it was strange, that morning at his church, with so few people, but once I got going, whatever it is took over, and I lost myself once again.
This is what a calling is like. I thank God, literally, every time I get to preach, right before. I thank God for the privilege to speak to the people…I don’t know how I got so lucky to be able to do what I love to do, and get paid for it, but I am so very grateful.
In the 90s, Ani DiFranco was one of my favorites. She played in Knoxville, where I lived, to about 20 or 30 people, and she was phenomenal. She looked out over the people there, and said, “I’ve sung to, like, a lot more people than this!” She chuckled about it, and then KILLED herself out there doing an amazing show. Later she got interviewed about it and said, “yeah, I’ll bust my ass for 50 people or 5000, I don’t care.”
THAT is a calling. To truly not care who’s out there except for making that connection with whoever it is who God has put in front of you that day. It was great to go to my husband’s church and finally GET that, really GET it, because the contrast was so great and yet both places people were there who wanted to hear a good Word that morning, and hopefully, I always pray, they receive it.
What’s your calling?