Saturday, September 26, 2015

Learning My Own Sermon

Woke up on Thursday morning – asked the Lord to be in my day and committed myself to paying attention to Him in all of my ordinary moments – just as I had spent three weeks preaching about. – then off to the church office where I had blocked out the day to finish my message and some desk work. Of course this is “important” “valuable” work and time well spent!  Somewhere along about 1:30pm I just got stuck in my sermon prep and instead of working through it I decided to find a diversion – the men’s bathroom in the sanctuary needed a new float mechanism – maybe I will just do that …  Master plumber that I am I shut the water valve off by the back of the toilet, pulled out the float, put in a new one, reconnected the water line and turned the water valve back on – simple… except there wasn’t any water coming through. HMMM – turned the valve off again and pulled off the water line to see if it was clogged – nope – looks good, and then I noticed that there appeared to be something blocking the actual valve coming from the wall; that’s when it happened -  without warning – a couple pebbles along with the interior parts of the valve shot out the top of the valve followed by an unstoppable explosion of water halted only by the ceiling of the bathroom!! I turned the valve shut – but it just spun round and round as the bathroom began filling with water. In a feat of incredible strength I stopped the water with my left thumb, grabbed my wet cell phone and began dialing the office upstairs – no answer! So I began to shout for help in between the occasional moments I could not hold the water back and it would blast up in my face.  Finally I just let go and raced upstairs for the water box key, back down the stairs and outside to shut off the water and then back inside only to see water pouring out into the sanctuary – wrong valve –back outside, around the building and finally shut it down…..

Completely soaked I began to mop up the mess which also included the basement bathroom since the water had found its way down there through the ceiling… I went over to see the Ace “helpful hardware man” down the street  - I didn’t even have to tell him the problem as he looked at me – completely soaking wet holding out the old valve. That was embarrassing! Back to church, a couple trips up and down the stairs and I replaced the valve – all is well again – I better get back to ”valuable” work at my desk… except that somewhere along the line I had locked my keys in my office!  GRRR! Using a credit card – a trick I learned in college – I finally got the door open – 15 minutes later.

I could say things got better as I applied myself to my work but it didn’t. I was so wet I didn’t want to sit at my desk – and I wasn’t of a very spiritual mind at the moment anyways – so back to another diversion – the kitchen sink drain in the Discipleship House had been draining super slow. All I can say is that after much investigation I discovered that just under the sink cover plate there was probably 30 years of buildup completely blocking any drainage – I would include a picture but it was far too disturbing  for public distribution– I scooped it out,  - yuck - scrubbed it down and got it running clean and free again.

Back at my desk – after several hours – I sat down and started back into my message – we are on the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. No wonder I was stuck.  This was not how this day was supposed to go – have I done anything of value?  I read though the genealogy again – lists of people, generations, some very faithful and some not so nice and more than a few who were of a very poor reputation … and then Jesus!    I was suddenly reminded of all these lives lived, lives full of opportunities, failures, strengths, weaknesses and years and years of ordinary moments…. And Jesus was born into that family tree and into those same moments and moved through His days like us, and probably experienced ordinary, maddening days like mine had been. Their stories were much like ours and the genealogy showed that the Lord was in those lives and days All the moments are part of the whole picture, part of my shaping,, all enfolded into God’s greater story.

Then I remembered our series on “Sanctification of the Ordinary” – that all our work was of value and how we were reminded to use the ordinary moments – even the difficult and frustrating ones – as an opportunity to turn freshly to Jesus – to see Him in all those places and also to learn to stop amidst all the moments and remember that He is the one who does the work – to be refreshed in the stopping.

And so finally I stopped and rested and reflected and listened.  Sermon prep, toilet and drain repairs, locked doors, wet trips to the hardware store – all were gifts –opportunities to pay attention to Him, to be more like Him, to reflect Him no matter what work I was doing.

I Cor. 10:31 -    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.