During the sermon this past Sunday I asked "What comes to mind when I say the word Peace?"
I was a little surprised when people in the congregation spoke up, and gave their answers. I was actually asking in a rhetorical way. But it was wonderful! The responses were heartfelt, and reflective, and varied.
It warms this preacher's heart when I feel like people are that engaged, that they will join in the "sermon event" by speaking out loud. (It might get a bit much if we did it every week!)
One of the ideas about preaching that I was exposed to in seminary was that the "sermon event" is something for which the preacher lays groundwork, but which is actually being created as the prepared text is preached and heard. God is in the midst of that speaking and listening, and in all the thoughts, feelings, memories, connections that get sparked. The idea, or hope, is that the sermon's effect is deeper and greater than the preacher knows.
When something good spontaneously happens during a sermon, I get the feeling that there is something to this "sermon event" notion.
I felt very blessed when people vocalized their ideas about peace.
There was another moment that was a blessing, and it was about a blessing. I had been talking about Peace, and Shalom, and Salaam, and Namaste'. A member of the congregation who was born and raised in India asked if she could talk about the use of "Namaste'" as a greeting and a farewell.
As she explained it, when people are parting they would be saying to each other, "Go and come back", and Namaste" would also carry the meaning, "After I leave, may you continue to be in peace."
This coming week I plan to talk about Joy.
I would like some help with this one. If you have a moment, after reading this, please send me an email, and tell me something about Joy in your life. Here are some questions to prime the pump:
What brings you Joy?
What is Joy for you?
How do you offer Joy to others?
You can click on to my email link, and drop me a line!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Peace (and Joy) be with you.