Preaching: ecstasy and agony

Preaching is both ecstasy and agony. It can happen over just two Sundays.

Ecstasy

One moment, I felt I was on Mount Everest. The anointing heightened all my faculties to another level. I knew I was connecting in an unusual, powerful way with the congregation. The thoughts were coherent and the words flowed with liberty and penetrating power. The people were attentive and attuned. God was at work. I bow my head and thanked God in prayer for the privilege of being used by God.

preachingAgony

However, other times, I was not in the zone. I fumbled for thoughts. I mumbled disjointed sentences. I struggled to connect with the listeners. They became distant. The more I tried to get into the zone, the more I ended in the pit. It does not turn out the way it should. I wished I could leave the pulpit after the second point, even though there were four points. Getting off the stage would be a mercy. I would settle into the chair stumped. “Lord, just where did it go wrong? Was my preparation inadequate in some way?” I reflected, evaluated, prayed. Often this absorption continued on Monday, my day off, and I would be absent mentally though present physically with my wife.

Just Grateful

Thankfully such extremes of emotion were not prevalent. Most times I communicated the message clearly and I was not on a super high or low after preaching. Just a glow of satisfaction that the work is done, the Word delivered. For this I am grateful, to be able to preach God’s Word. I feel pleasure whenever I do it well.