Here I sit.
This is the time set aside to write a sermon.
I’ve written a sermon, now and then, as a guest preacher.
This sermon is different.
I write it as one appointed to a part-time, six month ministry.
I’m excited.
I really am.


I know
what has most changed
in the long years since my last pastoral ministry is the competing values.

So on this threshold between pew-sitter and worship leader
I offer my fear
and my desire.

My fear.
DSC_3368Some will want many scripture passages read
For some, one is enough.
Some will adore the contemporary reading alongside.
Some will suspect it.
Some will want the traditional Lord’s Prayer, every week.
Some won’t want it at all.
Some prefer it sung.
Some will cringe at this old hymn.
Some will lose themselves in this new one.
As for the sermon, it will be too long, too short, too relevant, not relevant enough.
It will be too plain spoken, too poetic, too harsh, not prophetic enough.


I’m type-shouting because I feel strongly – we should not agree.
We cannot possibly agree across radically different generations and intensely personal experiences of faith.


We must learn the spiritual practice of holding space for one another.

My desire.

We will not like everything.
But we need to know that when we aren’t liking something, someone else is liking it.
It’s that simple.
We shouldn’t like everything.

In the last 15 years as a pew-sitter I learned to carve a holding space in me
and when I didn’t like something I made myself curious about who was liking it.
I hate (ok, strongly dislike) the song: Come in, Come in You are Part of the Family.
I might not sing it. But I might watch for someone else belting it out with heart-pleasure
and together we worship.

I might not be into the prayer offered in actions.
But I let that piece go and wait for the one phrase in a sermon, the one verse of a hymn,
an image I love, the one gesture of greeting
that makes this worship today.

I might not get the sermon each time. But I know someone else will.
Instead, I try to sit and claim this rare time of being still among the generations.
That is worship too.
And the church remains one of the few places for generations to be together.
I like that.

I could go on
but I need to write a sermon.

I’m more certain now
of the prayer praying in me,
that I can faithfully create a worship space
where we can differ in likes and desires
yet be permeable enough to hold space for one another.