your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
is the light of the world.
May your people,
illumined by your word and sacraments,
shine with the radiance of his glory,
that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed
to the ends of the earth;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
So, I had one of those moments yesterday.
A day after moving houses, living in chaos and confusion, it was a busy day at the parish. There was the usual Sunday morning service, of course. There was also the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service in the afternoon, at which I would preside and preach.
In the morning, I spoke about vocation - about what God was calling us to be, both as individuals and as a community. I spoke about Samuel and Eli, and about Philip and Nathaniel. I tied it back to the collect of the day, suggesting that we had a responsibility to "shine with the radiance of [Christ's] glory, that he may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the ends of the earth." There was more than just that, of course, but that line from the collect was, if you will, the refrain of the sermon.
After the Unity Octave service in the afternoon, a couple of my parishioners remarked about how they were happy to be there "to shine." It took me a minute, and they laughed as they observed: "You see, we were listening this morning."
A preacher wonders, Sunday after Sunday, whether the sermon is doing it's job in the service. Does it make the point? Does it do so in a way that is meaningful and comprehensible? Does it enhance the listeners' understanding of the gospel? Does it make a difference in their lives? Is anybody listening?
I'm told I'm a good preacher. I do try to keep to one of the central rules of preaching - it should be about God and about ten minutes. (Or, as Tommy Douglas put it, the mind can only absorb as long as the seat can endure.) I try to preach to the lectionary - usually to the gospel.
I'm told I'm a good preacher - but I'm never entirely convinced that's so.
Do other "good preachers" feel this way?