Sunday, March 5, 2017

Come Healing of the Limb

Sunday school this morning, 9:15.

Also this. The homiletics professor at seminary (I went to the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, right there on the Civil War battlefield, I was not Lutheran, it was my bishop's idea) told me, “you have an eccentric preaching style, but it works for you.” So I’ve never let it bother me to be any more or less Episcopal Usual than the next kook. Over some thirty-five years of pulpit time I’ve done a hellfire and damnation jobby, sung some hymns and other songs, whispered, shouted, stared people down, made eye contact with most every person in the congregation, put one man to sleep faithfully Sunday after Sunday, banged on the pulpit to wake him up, paused for effect, repeated sentences to counter a sneeze, loud cough or baby’s cry, paused for ringing cellphones including my own. Unlike many, once I step out of the pulpit I’m not interested or willing to argue, discuss, or debate; it’s not over till it’s over and when it’s over it’s over. 

Today, Lent1A, is my first Sunday back from sabbatical and my designated Sunday on our parish preaching schedule. If I’m putting a title on it, as I may later this afternoon when, to keep a promise to a friend, I post it on this +Time blog, maybe “The Penitential Hymn.” If it turns out a bit longer than I intended, I’ve cut it by half since it first stirred in what’s left of my wandering mind. I tried to work in a laugh, but what the hell, it’s Lent, I can’t even bring chocolate candy for the kids at Children’s Time. I’ll snip a bit more as I review my notes this morning, but anyone who doesn’t like it can regard it as part of their Lenten penance. 

So let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb


Pic from film The Passion of the Christ
Poem: Leonard Cohen

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