My Facebook memories (you know, that little tab on the side that brings back alllll sorts of memories of what you have posted over the past 10 years or so) tells me that a year ago I was preaching at the American Church in Berlin for both services. I remember this day. I preached about the Camino and my experiences of realizing we were all expecting that we would finish and we made sure it would happen. We took bolder steps because we knew we had each other’s backs. What would we try if we knew we wouldn’t fail? I asked the question letting it linger for a bit. This gig was in person where my partner, some friends, and my current church community were gathered around. We sang together. I gave lots of hugs and shook lots of hands. There weren’t masks or even questions about our gathering. I probably took public transit to arrive. I was there most of the day.
I remember feeling so in my element again for a moment. I got to serve Communion which is probably one of the things I miss the most while on leave. I miss tearing a piece of bread for the person in front of me and saying their name. I miss building a community some days so much it hurts in the same way that I used to. This is part of the clarity that will return me to that role at some point.
This year I also am preaching today. BUT I have pre recorded my sermon. I actually recorded two versions and sent the one I liked the most. You can do that with a video that you make of your own sermon. I recorded a sermon that will be played later today in the context of an online worship service from Portland, OR even though I am in Berlin, Germany. I know some of the community that will watch my sermon. I will cross my fingers all day and evening that it was ok. There isn’t really feedback in this kind of format unless someone thinks to send me a separate message but that takes an extra special step. In this format, I put my words out there and have no idea if they will be watched, appreciated, will hit a chord or disagreed with. It is slightly unnerving.
This year when I preach there aren’t hugs or shaken hands. In fact, the thought of it makes me sad but also I can’t imagine giving out so many hugs now. It is unfathomable right now.
This year I preached more about our doubt and how God is there anyway. And when we DO fall, because we will, especially now, God will yank us back up.
And instead of getting to a physical location to preach I am writing this morning, listening to music, watching another online service (I will watch many more before the day is up), and trying to keep our place cool in the face of a finally hot day around here.
Sunday has shifted, changed, and we won’t know when or what we will return to when we do. My August is full of preaching gigs that are mostly pre recorded and keeping people in mind while I stare at the screen to give some words, hopefully of hope, encouragement, and good news.
Have a lovely Sunday!