Today I got to preach for the Chinese language group and for the English language group. I preached the same basic sermon, but they ended up being quite different in actual execution.
I’ve preached a couple times since I last posted a sermon, but I haven’t posted those sermons because I seem to be moving away from having a manuscript. I could post the rough manuscript that I make my few notes from, but it wouldn’t give you a very good idea of the final product. My church also isn’t really equipped to record (that I’m aware of), so there aren’t concrete records of what it is that I do when I peach. That’s both interesting and a little alarming, since I think of myself as a writer first and a preacher second most of the time.
I think the sermon went over well. In the Chinese language group especially, there is only one person who will tell me – Albert Lee, an amazing older man who is also the one who translated for me in the service. And even with him, I’m never certain that he’s not just being polite.
The reason for the post title is my reflection on the experience of preaching twice, especially with the first time being more nerve-wracking than normal. I’ve head people talk about a “runner’s high” that runners get. I played soccer for five years, and did a hell of a lot of running, and never felt anything I’d describe as “high”. Dizzy, maybe. Exhausted, definitely. Running for me involves pain, gasping, and general disappointment.
I found, though, that after the second sermon, I felt ready to preach two more. Usually after I preach all of the adrenaline floods out of my system and I crash, exhausted. This time, though, after that crash, I had to keep going, to lead another worship service entirely, do the children’s time, preach, pray, etc. I felt something that might be a bit like a runner’s high, but I’ll call it a preacher’s high. It actually made me want to try some sort of marathon preaching.
Also, bit by bit, I find that I am slowly becoming more confident. For example, I didn’t write out the pastoral prayer this time, but just made it up no the spot, and I thought it was pretty good. Same with the benediction – I just said what came to mind in the moment. Not things I would usually do, but there you have it.