Some people have asked me for a copy of my sermon or asked if it would be posted on the website or Facebook page. I love talking with you about what I’ve said but I have to share with you that my theory of preaching includes a soap bubble image. A sermon is an inner expression that, for me, has been rumbling around in my reflective process for a week or longer. I share it with listeners on Sunday and I throw it out like blowing a soap bubble. It floats around, some grab it, some don’t, and in a few minutes, it bursts and disappears. It’s almost gone forever at least in that particular form. Yes, I use a paper filled with notes most of the time, but I don’t actually read what I’ve written word for word. So, I can’t give you a manuscript. Sometimes I go in a different direction than I was planning because it seems the way to say it. However, I’ll try to do better and post at least my thoughts about what I preached after Sunday.
What follows is a brief narrative of the story I shared Christmas Eve. It’s been requested and so here it is. I don’t remember who told it or where I heard it but it was a long time ago.
A family is completing their Christmas decoration and the mom announces she’s going to the midnight Christmas service at the little nearby church. The children want to go with her but her husband says that he still has much to do before Christmas day arrives, and declines. Off they go. He hears the tires crunching as the car moves down the driveway and settles in that cold night.
A snow storms blows in, starting gently at first and then grows in intensity. He notices the little birds fluttering around near the house. He thinks “it’s freezing outside and those little birds need food and energy to survive the night. I’ll turn the outdoor light on so they can find the bird feeder.” That doesn’t work, they are still fluttering around knocked here and there by the gusts of wind. He grows more concerned and decides to spread bird food on the driveway but the falling snow quickly covers the seed. The birds are still fluttering and are in a confused state as the temperature continues to drop and the wind rises. “I just don’t know how I can help them” he muses and then has an idea. “I’m going into the barn and I’ll open the doors, turn on the lights and spread seed on the floor. They can come in and spend the night safe and warm.” He flings the doors open and looks are the birds. They’re still fluttering and growing weary but don’t seem to understand what to do. The man says to himself and perhaps even out loud, “If I could become a bird, I could lead them to safety, they could follow me and they’d be safe. They would understand me.” Having said that, he began to hear, quietly at first and then more loudly, the church bells ringing at Midnight. Then he understood.
Rev. Paul Gilbert
Church Phone - 843-631-5040
Mission Council phone numbers:
Betsy Daise, Senior Warden 202.222.5651
George Hayworth, Junior Warden 843.889.5678
Emilie Cox 803.682.2965
Harriet Gettys 843.869.1329
Brooks Goldsmith 803.320.1189
Taylor Skardon 843.754.4494
Michele Skripps 843.631.1389
Elizabeth Galaida - Music Director and Administrator - 843.631.1115
All contents copyrighted by The Episcopal Church On Edisto