readings for this week and thought, "hmmm...I believe I've preached on this before...and at a completely different church..." A brief search later and voila! A sermon! One from 6 years ago, in full manuscript form, and not related to a current event. SCORE!
I've never actually recycled a sermon before, so it was an interesting experience. What I learned is that I couldn't use it as-is. I had to rework it a bit to incorporate both for where I am now and to take into account that this is not new material.
First of all, the original version began, "I’ve been thinking about snakes this week." Well, that was a week six years ago, so I changed the beginning to strive for truth and accuracy.
Secondly, I completely rewrote the ending. If you read the sermon below, everything from "let’s take a look at what this might mean for us" is totally new. In the original, I thought I had done a good job with the exposition but blown it on the application part. So I had to revisit that. I'm still worried it's a bit too Lenten and penitential, but I hope that for all the emphasis on "look at the bad, not just the good," there's a strongly positive underlying message.
Finally, another recent influence and change in tone came from reading up on Evelyn Underhill for Lent Madness (she's in Round 2 Wednesday! Vote!--and today, too, of course), so the notion of the God as Reality was top of mind for me and became an important element in the sermon.
So even though a lot of the work was already done for me, this was still a sermon that grew out of where I am right now. A heck of a lot easier to write, though. And people really seemed to like it, so that's good too.
What's your experience of recycling sermons?