It’s Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
I politely explain that I have to be getting home after a fun birthday celebration.
Oh you don’t have to go yet, do you?
Well, there’s still a sermon to prepare, and I have a bit of a drive.
Oh that’s right tomorrow’s Sunday. I mean how do you get inspired like every week?
*In my head* Not by answering questions like this at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday night.
*To my interested inquirer* It’s not easy. Sundays just keep on coming every week.
As I walk out and get in my car to start the trek home, I realize that not only is the fact that I am a woman in ministry intriguing to people, but the very life of a minister is fascinating. I won’t pretend to know what my colleagues who have been in parish ministry for years know, but there are some things I am learning about this crazy called life.
Saturday night is not date night. My husband is the most patient and understanding man I’ve ever met. He’s the one that discovered that for me once the sun sets on Saturday night, my mind and my spirit are focused on what will happen on Sunday morning. He has quietly and subtly shifted his schedule to allow me that time of preparation. (I won’t admit how long it took me to realize what he was doing for me, for us, and for our community of faith.) A lot of people don’t understand that part of the life of a minister, and I’m so thankful to a partner who does and who guards that time for me with friends and family.
I read a lot. I know that sounds like a no brainer, but especially for a bi-vocational minister, it’s hard to remember that in order to encounter the divine, you have to do the things that inspire you to your core. For me, that has and always will be reading. This past week, I spent a lot of time with young adult novels. Two weeks ago, I spent a lot of time with nonfiction articles. Three weeks ago, I listened to a lot of podcasts. The influx of words running across the page and running through my ears, does something to the writing and sermon preparing process that for me is crucial.
Prep Playlist. I shared with my congregation recently that part of my sermon prep process almost always includes listening to Carrie Underwood’s How Great Thou Art. Listen and you’ll understand. There are some others that float in and out of the prep playlist, but this is a staple.
More than any of these things that make it seem like the inspiration and revelation process is something that can be controlled on weekly basis, I stand in wonder at the way Creator God seeks to be seen in and among us, God’s people. There are many weeks that I close my eyes on Saturday night thinking for sure I’ve nailed down what God has to say to God’s people the next morning and awake knowing I was wrong the night before.
So, to answer you question interested inquirer, in all honesty, I have no idea exactly how there continues to be a word for God’s people week after week, but I do know that God wants to work in and among God’s people not every week, but every day, every moment and in every breath.