I was the preacher at four of our services today.
Ken Diehm, our Senior Pastor, is an outstanding preacher, one of the best in our conference, and perhaps in the State of Texas in my opinion . . . and friends, I know a good preacher when I hear one.
Cindy Ryan, another of our associate pastors, is a gifted writer and a talent in the pulpit as well. She, like myself, gets to preach 2-3 times a year, and her sermons are always "knock-outs." I asked her how she was able to preach so effectively the few times in a year she gets to do so.
Her reply, "It's a good sermon when you get to work on it for a month."
Good advice . . . I spent 3 weeks getting ready for the sermon I preached today. I am glad I put the work into it that I did. I knew this sermon . . . and although I used notes, I didn't really have to.
My Mom was scheduled to be here to hear me preach. It has been a while since she was able to attend worship with us, as she has provided almost daily care and supervision to my late grandmother for many years.
Due to our stormy Texas weekend, especially yesterday (Saturday), we decided together that her being on the highway during stormy weather was not a good idea. Mom is an excellent driver, but often in bad weather, other drivers are not.
Mom was a part of my sermon. I most especially like it when I share a story of my childhood, not doubt embellishing a bit, as I seem to have a gift to do . . . and people look at my Mom to get her reaction . . . and she shrugs her shoulders and says, "I don't have any idea what he is talking about!"
Funny, how what I remember is not what she remembers. Yet that makes sense, for my memories are that of a child or teen, who often choose to remember what they want to remember, or "hoped" took place. My Mom has been an adult my entire life, and her memories are from a Mom's perspective.
What can you say about a Mom who was quick to say "NO!" to the things I wanted to do where "NO!" was the right answer to give me. And she was quick to say "YES!" to those things which she new played to my strengths and natural abilities. She encouraged me to sing and play guitar, and was one of the few adults to support my decision to forgo my senior year of high school athletics to be a part of a Christian band that got to travel all over south and central Texas, playing at United Methodist Churches, and several Conference youth events at Mt. Wesley Campground in Kerrville, TX . . . a very long drive from our home in the Rio Grande Valley.
When I felt my call to be a preacher . . . my Mom gave her support . . . the child of a Methodist preacher herself, she gave wise counsel about the constant moving that Methodist preachers tend to do . . . not so much as in years past. She encouraged me to always treat a move as a new adventure and a challenge.
Perhaps, in my heart, I meant this Sunday to be an early Mother's Day for my Mom, to pay her a public tribute I've been meaning to give her for some time. As she reminded me on the phone yesterday, there will be other times to hear me preach, and that is true.
God's grace . . . and my Mom . . . still amaze me . . . ><>