I often find myself telling others to listen with an open heart and be prepared for the unexpected if you really want to hear what the Lord may be saying to you. And now I find myself, through this weekly reflection, by sometimes observing a once lost rejected quirky dog, by praying real hard both before and after every Confirmation Class with our parish teens over these years once again finding how I am taught in spite of self.
I have a very strict standard for preaching. I judge myself far more harshly than any of you could. Last Saturday evening’s sermon during the liturgy at St. Paul’s was so poor (in my opinion) that I did a total do-over early Sunday morning. And then after trying to open God’s word in that sermon, found myself doubly frustrated. Nothing worked this past weekend! Whatever I tried to understand and convey just didn’t happen.
Or did it??? Between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, five different people came to speak with me quietly and privately to thank me for such a “meaningful” or “thought provoking” sermon. What I considered rubbish, others believed spoke to them in important ways. So for once, I won’t argue. I just sit in stunned amazement.
Now this is not about me (to quote the seldom remembered Ross Perot). This is about how God speaks to us in ways we don’t anticipate or expect. Clearly God spoke to others through my, in my opinion, very inadequate reflection last weekend. But God also spoke to me and made it clear that His Word can be communicated in spite of the flawed messenger. One has to take one’s mission and calling seriously, but not take oneself so seriously. Sometimes God speaks to us in our failures, in the things we don’t achieve, the recognition we don’t obtain, the jobs we don’t find, the relationship we didn’t have a chance with. God speaks to us as individuals and to us as a community of faith – and probably in ways we least expect. Time to be more open to that voice.