Once upon a time there was an Anglican clergyman who was lazy. He had long ago given up the bother of preparing his sermons. He had considerable native intelligence and fluency of speech, and his congregation were simple people. So he got by pretty well with his unprepared sermons. Yet in order to live with his conscience, he took a vow that he would always preach extempore and put his trust in the Holy Spirit. Everything was fine until one day, a few minutes before the morning service began, who should walk into the church and find a place in one of the pews but the bishop, enjoying a Sunday off. The parson was embarrassed. He had managed for years to bluff his un-educated congregation, but he much less sure of his ability to hoodwink the bishop. So he went went over to welcome his unexpected visitor and, in an endeavor to forestall his criticism, told him of the solemn vow he had taken always to preach extemporaneous sermons. The bishop seemed to understand, and the service began. Halfway through the sermon, however, to the preacher's great consternation, the bishop got up and walked out. And after the service a scribbled note from the bishop lay on the vestry table: 'I absolve you from your vow!'
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Laziness will find you out!
Is the week getting long and you need some levity? As I'm reading John Stott's Between Two Worlds he has a funny story related to sermon preparation (pg. 211). Now as I'm often a critic of the contemporary state of the Church this story is also quite sad considering how realistic it probably reflects so many preachers and pulpits today. So it challenges me but it also makes me laugh... good combo.