Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Morning Preacher: Palm Sunday redux

Well, that's done.  The gospel didn't get the sermon it deserved, I'm afraid.  I wanted to keep it short because the gospel reading was so long, but at the same time I'm afraid I put in too many concepts to be clear.

The keeper is the line from the ever-wonderful Interpreter's Bible (1952) (bolded in the text of the sermon below).  Here's a fuller version:
The unmeasured generosity of her giving moved him.  It was a glorious maximum of sacrifice which never stopped to calculate what might have been a passable minimum--the kind of mathematical computation that so easily besets us...She did not pour out a few drops and say, "Well, I guess that ought to be enough for this occasion."...  She was lifted clear out of arithmetic into love--one of the greatest leaps which a life can take.
The paragraph about how Palm Sunday and the palm fronds we use symbolize the glorious maximum and the passable minimum was a last-second addition, added in the moment and not in the text I had written.  I just thought, standing there, watching each person carefully take one single frond and no more, that this was just the kind of "passable minimum" I was talking about. But that does mean that it is pretty clunky and disjointed at the end.

There was lots going on behind the sermon that didn't get mentioned: a book I'm reading called Evolving in Monkey Town (more on that soon), memories of Palm Sunday in Kampala, the other readings (which never got mentioned but were in play), thoughts on stewardship and how that plays the "passable minimum" card, other incidents of the passable minimum in church life.  It may be that a single story would have been more effective than all this explanation, but I couldn't come up with one that didn't require even further exposition.

It was odd.  The sermon came out than I had intended it to.  And a little muddled.  Clearly something I haven't thought through well enough myself so the end got in a bit of a tangle, there, which is a shame because the core idea is an important one.

But it's done, as I said.  It's not the worst sermon in the world; just a bit of a clunker, I think, rushed and awkward. On to Good Friday.


Lorin said...

I liked it, reading it this morning. Perhaps that's the church architect in me, wanting people to build their all for God, not just pick out the cheapest, most serviceable version.

[My captcha words are vestris and dyinit. Tantalizingly close to Vestry and Dying it - very Easter appropriate.]

Anonymous said...

I liked it too - not sure what you're apologizing about at all!

LKT said...

Hmm...well, thank you both. It felt lurky-jerky as I was preaching it from the pulpit, but perhaps it was because I added something last second and wasn't sure that it belonged there. I dunno. It felt like driving on three tires as I went down the homestretch, there.