Letting Go of Worship
I love to preach! Make no mistake, the more I do it, the more honored I am to be allowed to enter the pulpit each with after living with a text for a week. I love the mystery of how a text opens up better than a great wine and takes me places I never planned to go. I love working with Bob Gross and the musical leadership to sculpt songs that reinforce the text and wrap worship with a mystery that goes beyond words.
So asking my friend Yves Pizant to preach was a sacrifice for me. Will he do a good job? Will the congregation follow him in French translation? Will he and the translator, Dr. Marianne Robins click? Will it be too long? What direction will he take the text?
At 9:30 a.m. Yves and Marianne met for the first time and launched into an intense conversation about the sermon and translation issues. Though I understood hardly anything they said, I sensed the chemistry, respect and deep French joy!
Opening singing was great! The altar piece framed the sanctuary. And when Yves began, he began in English thanking me and Martha and the church for inviting him to preach. He even thanked them for teaching them Californian...."Dude!" he said! I knew this was going to be fun.
I won't recap the sermon on Jesus cursing the fig tree out of season (you can download a podcast from the church web site). Yves kept circling the text, going deeper and deeper into the meaning of leaves and fruit, seasons of harvest, Temple cleansing and casting mountains into the sea. He had us on the edge of our pews!
Before I knew it the sermon was over and I offered a benediction after Yves' benediction in French and was out the door. The response was electric. People approached me still chewing on the implications of the text for them now! My people were blessed, but I had to let go first.