Monday, February 09, 2009

Sermon Surprises


So.... about 15 (?) years ago I read WomanWord by Miriam Therese Winter-- not the whole thing, but a lot of it, and it's a resource I return to time and again for bible study, and, occasionally, for sermon prep. The book contains the following for every woman in the New Testament-- every single woman, named and unnamed, found singly or in groups:


Scripture References

Biography

Context

Lectionary Reading

Personal Reflection (a poem)

Points for Shared Reflection (especially helpful in Bible Studies)

An (Original) Psalm

A Prayer


One of the things that struck me way back then was this, under points for shared reflection:


* Did the cure symbolize the healing of a feverish, red-hot anger towards the man who had left her daughter for a visionary vagabond?


Obviously, this point of interpretation found its way into the sermon I preached Sunday. (I had written a version of this all those years ago, as well, but it is now foundering on an unusable floppy disk somewhere... too bad).


Other stuff found its way in there too.


Psalm 147, the psalm I read voraciously, searching for its blessing and healing, throughout the break-up of my marriage.


My newfound sense of strength as head of my own household. (Not that we ever operated, as a couple, under those sexist assumptions when we were together... but still.)


My abject sorrow at losing him.


My anger at how the breakup affected our children.


My conviction throughout that he was/ is a good man, and this merely represents a change in our relationship, not its end.


My hope that a new healing was and is possible, that a new calling was and is out there for both of us.


Interestingly, I recognized none of this subtext while I was writing. It kind of whacked me on the head Sunday morning as I did my read-aloud at home, and suddenly I couldn't stop crying.


I'm glad I do that read-aloud at home thing. Saves me from some awkward moments in the pulpit.


3 comments:

Songbird said...

Yeah.
I should take another look at that book.

LittleMary said...

isn't it so good that we write sermons for ourselves? glad you got some healing out of this one.

giggles said...

I was due to read Song of Solomon one Sunday, and had been practicing at home...not out loud, though... Don't cha know... Out loud? Totally new ...Brought it all home to me in a very different and embarassing way.... Could barely finish...and had no tissues to freshen up afterwards....

I hear ya...