As I reflect on my writing and sermonizing, an image that keeps coming to my mind and heart is a microphone. For me, ministry is an opportunity to be GOD’s microphone—an opportunity to rant, whisper, sing, proclaim, joke, inspire, write, intellectualize, simplify GOD’s revolutionary and evolutionary word. The prophets of the Hebrew Bible, the community of saints, and the cloud of holy witnesses who journey with us, all lived into being a microphone for the divine, sharing sacred sass that needed to be heard from the prophetic cry of demanding systemic change in support of the marginalized to the tender whisper of “you are loved” to the survivor of trauma to the joyful song of celebrating the amazingness of life—sharing and at times even embodying the voice of GOD. To borrow from the UCC, we are called to be microphones for a GOD who is still speaking.
As I strive to live into the call of being a microphone, I’ve wrestled with what it means to be created and loved in the sound of GOD. Though each day raises new answers to questions that lead to more queries, I believe GOD has shared these insights through bloopers, tongue-ties, ranting soapboxes, attempts at singing (mostly in the shower), and those rare moments through which one knows the words emanate from an inner place of wholeness and holiness that is GOD (its those wow and “aha” moments where the connection to the divine and sacred vibrates through one’s being). Here is what I have learned thus far and I truly believe it is an evolving and living “work in progress”…
1. Be bold, take chances, shake things up, be quirky, and preach beyond the norms.
2. Don’t get stuck in convoluted and heady exegetical work that it takes you away from being present to those you are preaching too.
3. Have fun…laugh, live, and love.
4. It does not always have to be long, there is power and pizzazz in keeping it short, sweet, and simple.
5. May you passionately and prophetically preach the gospels always, using actual words when necessary, when appropriate, and when most effective.
6. Remember to take care of your self, spirit, and soul…its important to be happy, healthy, and holy.
7. Remember to meet your listeners where they are, use your voice as a form of ministry to reach out to the flock from the ones who take notes of your sermons to the ones who look like they agree but are actually nodding off.
8. Don’t get lost in the loftiness of ideas or abuse the power and privilege of the pulpit, that you forget the realities of the lives who are touched, shaped, demolished, revitalized, inspired, healed, lifted up by your words.
9. Be a person of prayer.
10. Don’t forget about GOD.
May our lives in their wholeness always be microphones for GOD.
feature image from: http://www.123rf.com/photo_8146607_pop-art-old-radio-microphone-background.html