Easter Sunday's worship gathering was incredible. One of those days in which the congregation is filled with both tears and smiles, often on the same faces. It was an emotionally intense celebration of the world-altering reality of the Resurrection.
Personally, it was a great day because I was able to return to preaching. Over the past 6 months, our church has been going through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality series. Those 6 months were wonderful for our church, a time of necessary growth for myself and the church. During those 6 months, however I didn't really get to preach much. I was using a lot of material from the author of EHS and the scripture references were more of a jumping off point than the main point (as is typical with topical preaching). Again, it was necessary and wonderful, but man did it feel good to be back in 'preaching-mode.'
My sermon Sunday was the result of hours studying various scholars, letting God work on me through the text, the thrill of finding the surprise insight upon which the sermon turns (in this case, the Father taking the son's shame upon himself) and a passion for delivering the message that makes me go hoarse. There is nothing like leading a group of people through an exploration of a passage with humor and tears. As I was wrapping up the message, I was choking up myself from both what I was saying and the quivering lips I saw on several chins. It was really, really good to be using my gift again.
And based upon the conversations, emails and text-messages I've received since Sunday, the main point of the sermon - The Father represents God and God's love is scandalous - really hit home for a lot of people.
Man, it feels good to preach again.
Oh, if you'd like, you can listen to Sunday's message here. link