The school staffroom is becoming a very interesting place to be. For a while there was not a nice atmosphere as staff griped and grumbled about how hard life was and how heavy the workload was getting. It really was unpleasant! Since then we have had a influx of four new staff – all young folk who have lives outside of school! They talk about what they are going to do at the weekend – and the M word (marking) doesn’t get a mention!
When they are discussing weekend plans they ask around. My answer to the question of what I was going to do at the weekend was “I have a sermon to prepare as I am preaching on Sunday.” I wouldn’t say that I am a closet Christian by any means, but no one had ever asked me before about my weekend plans, and it just so happened to be me preaching. They were fascinated – what was I going to talk about? How many people would be listening? Did anyone have any problems with a woman preaching? How often did I preach? What was my church like? It was an open door to a flood of questions.
It was also an open door to a flood of comments about their own church experiences. One of the new teachers had a father who was or had been a lay preacher. Another teacher had attended a Plymouth Brethren church for a short while. It was interesting and very animated.
My sermon is all ready! Our church leader, Mark, has introduced a new structure for people involved in preaching and worship. The preacher needs to pass on the topic a week in advance so that if the worship leader wants to link in songs they can do.
My first inclination was to think the structure left no space for my usual last minute preparation and wasn’t it all stifling to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit answered quite promptly, “I can fit in with a weeks notice. Don’t you worry about me, Mel!” So out went the “What if God doesn’t talk to me a week in advance?” misgivings, and in came a confident declaration that, yes, the Holy Spirit can fit in with the week in advance! The topic flowed from a (phone) conversation I had with my mum and the bible context and verses came from another (cyberspace) conversation. It has all been pretty painless, but rather exciting too. I guess I am learning to simply listen and not agonise.
And to top it all – I don’t have five pages of notes with a million Bible references. I did a mind map! One single side of A4 paper with colour coded boxes and lots of arrows! Cool or what? I have preached the sermon a dozen times to an invisible audience in my head and there were no hecklers! See how flexible I can be if I try?