Friday, September 7, 2012
I hope my sermon went well this morning. My nerves were totally shot. I do all my writing in Google Docs because cloud saving is awesome and my starter edition of MS Word doesn't make footnotes. This morning, however, I woke up to discover that Google had eaten the end of my sermon and that I needed to write a new one. This process pressed me uncomfortably close to when I was supposed to be at chapel but I was done and OK--only to find the printer unwilling to print my manuscript. Freak out time.
Ok. Screaming done.
By the time I try to get it to work made me late and I had nothing concrete to show for it except frayed nerves. Service had already started, I hadn't yet sifted through the vestments to find the ones that fit and I was about to give my first ever sermon from memory. After preaching a good many times I've become more or less comfortable and confident in the pulpit, except I've always had a manuscript. I've learned how not to look at it the whole time and add flourishes and digressions that help make things seem less scripted, but I've always had that carefully crafted, typed copy to keep me concise, on point, clear and well within the time frame (which is 5-7 minutes at Trinity).
So I did it. And it went reasonably well. I was happy to find my brain could access the ideas I laid out in more or less the order I wanted to say them. But I can never tell how much of the internal trembling I feel is external. I kind of doubt it's as obvious to the room as it is to me, but it certainly doesn't feel that way. Feedback afterwards was positive, although the eager-to-please student in me is disappointed that there are no professor evaluations of sermons for the first week of class. Both because I cherish the approval and because I feel able to trust them not just to be nice and reassuring. Thank you to everyone who complimented me afterwards! Please don't take offense at my neuroses in this area.
I think, though, it means I need to do it again next time. I've thought some recently about trying to move away from manuscripts, but I'm not sure when I would have made the decision to do it myself. God found a way to do it for me.