Yesterday I had the joy of bringing the Word to my congregation, as my pastor and some others are on a mission trip to the Philippines.
The sermon was titled Why Does It Matter That Jesus is a Ransom? Once Brevity Week is over at Pyromaniacs, I mean to make a few comments and link (again) to it. My point here will be a different one.
It was — well, I was about to say that it was my first experience preaching the same sermon at two services back to back. But that's actually my point. My wife Valerie insists it isn't.
Generally speaking, if I have to choose between my memory and Valerie's, I'll usually favor hers. She has a very good memory. Not infallible, but very good.
Now, I really really can't recall ever preaching at two services, but Valerie is ontologically certain that I have. She makes a good case, because she has a specific memory about it, and while I don't remember the two-services part, the story does sound familiar.
Valerie says that at this first service, in my sermon I was making the point very emphatically that we Christians must study our Bibles. In accompaniment of the point, I held my Bible up as I spoke about how imperative it is that all believers be Bible students.
After the service, Valerie pointed out to me that the Bible I held up was a brand-new Bible, with bright shiny gold-edged pages. And it looked as if it had never been opened.
Next service (she says), I used a different Bible.
Well, that's a pretty compelling illustration. As I say, it sounds familiar, though I really don't remember the preaching-two-services part.
I don't think this experience yields anything so amusing, except for one thing. To keep with the church's time schedule, it's a new guideline that the sermon aim a certain length. After the first sermon, I told an elder/friend, "It was 45 minutes or under!"
After the second, I told him, sincerely ruefully, "That was not 45 minutes or under."
I felt very bad about it.
And I think that's the version that's online.