Reflections to start the week
Monday, February 24, 2014
Calling all Monday morning preachers.
No, it’s not the ecclesiastical equivalent of Monday morning quarterbacks, not a rethinking of whatever sermon you heard yesterday.
By Monday morning preachers I draw on the wisdom of promises made in baptism. Specifically, we promise to proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ. In other words, we are all preachers, all proclaimers. We are each and all called to put the good news out there in word and action, to preach the gospel at all times and, as St. Francis said, if necessary, to use words. We are each called to do that wherever God has called us, wherever God has placed us this day.
Again, we are all preachers. That means you. That means me. I was reminded of the call to proclaim good news when I noted that later this week we observe the feast of a priest named George Herbert, who died on February 27, 1633. By way of monumental understatement, he had a way with words, mixed with a heart for God. It was a winning combination, for sure. He wrote a poem (one of my favorites) called The Windows. I interpret it as a reflection on his own wonderment that he had been called to ordained ministry, his own amazement that God would and could use him. In the poem, he compares the preacher (himself? you? me?) to a stained glass window. Here’s the first stanza of that poem:
Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
He is a brittle crazy glass;
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place,
To be a window, through thy grace.
I love this poem. It sustains me in the work I do, as it claims the foundation of God’s grace. It embraces the mystery, the miracle that God uses any of us in our brittleness, in our craziness. It imagines broken shards somehow marvelously assembled into something beautiful for God when light shines through, light from beyond brittle, crazy selves. Thank God for that light. The poet marvels that we are afforded such a glorious and transcendent place, i.e., to be a window through God’s grace.
So Monday morning preachers (I mean everyone reading this thing), what will be your sermon, your proclamation? How are you going to be a window of grace today?
– Jay Sidebotham
|Our God and King, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake. Amen.|
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.