Preaching is both ecstasy and agony. It can happen over just two Sundays.
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.
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.
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.
Ecstasy and agony. Tell me about it. I think that good preaching is content + communication. Both are skills that can be taught and learnt.
Anointing – how do you tell? 10 people tell you it is good sermon rather than the usual 1? You feel on fire (and no,it is not the extra spicy nasi lemak you had for breakfast). You feel good after preaching? People are seating on the edge of their chairs? How do you tell?
My better experiences of preaching was when I was relaxed and at ease with the people. Dr. Stone’s 3 point landing is still the way to go. Over the years, scripture is becoming more and more of a treasure trove. So much depth.
I agree with you – I am grateful to be able to preach God’s Word. Amen.
Ah yes good ole Dr Stone. I remember he said, “The whole aim of preaching is to be understood.” If we are not understood, we are just speaking in tongues to our people.