My friend Christa and her husband and daughter are moving to DC. It’s so comforting because I’ve known her since I was eight. Her family lived around the corner from ours, and since she is my sister’s age, she was at my house almost as much as she was home. And, of course, since she is the younger sister of Tiffany the Kidney & Liver Transplant specialist, I thought about the fact that she is known to my Bridgport UCC people because I used her as a sermon illustration.
I didn’t know how I would come across in my own words, but I knew hers were a home run that would fly so high it would smack Jesus in the face. As it happened, other people told me I was on fire that day. (The other sermon that was a hit was about Jesus raising the daughter of Jairus, the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. However, that day I only outlined and didn’t manuscript, and I forgot to upload it to the cloud (#facepalm) so I don’t have it anymore.)
I have so many funny church stories that bring me joy, and yet I feel so old when I remember them because I can’t believe they happened so long ago. Here is my favorite story from when I was a kid:
During a memorable children’s sermon, my dad talked about priceless treasures and took up the arm of his robe to show us kids his watch, his own priceless treasure. My sister wasn’t buying it. She looked straight at him and said, “NO IT’S NOT! You got it at Burger King for $2.99.” It was in this moment that I realized my sister knew how to work a crowd.
Here is my favorite hilarious story from Bridgeport:
When my friend Donna was preaching, she used an illustration about her five year old neighbor, Jackson. She was trying to console him when his cat died, and told him that his cat had probably gone to heaven. Jackson, completely deadpan, said “what would God want with a dead cat?”
I am still trying to decide if I’m going to do a Christmas series this year. I don’t know if I can come up with a different take that’s better than the original…. but maybe I need to sit in it, although I don’t have much time to be in discernment. Stay tuned. Being tuned in is basically the whole point of Advent, anyway. If I really put some elbow grease into it, maybe something new will come to me.
Writing and preaching are so hit and miss for me. Sometimes, I sit down after a sermon thinking that I have screwed up royally and the congregation says it’s one of the best things they’ve ever heard……. and when I think something is going to connect, I’ve actually fallen flat on my face.
As I said above, I used to outline…… until I read a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that broke me open.
If you have something important to say, write it down.