It's Friday, and I am stuck.
I was sitting here this morning writing my sermon for Sunday, and I'm not kidding, I sat at my desk after the last line I typed and said "I'm boring myself to death." And so I sat and sat and sat. I've done my morning devotions. (Side note, if you're not reading my Professor and friend Dr. Tuell's Lenten Devotional, you're missing out) I've consumed copious amounts of coffee. I've bounced the thinking ball. I'm stuck.
Getting stuck happens. Every writer worth a lick will tell you this. Rare is the sermon that I sit down and just start typing and minutes later have a masterpiece I'm proud of. Writing is a labor of blood sweat and tears, and today it seems really heavy on the tears. My computer took forever to boot up today, stuck in a vicious cycle of updates and memory sucking downloads, and as I watched that super colorful pinwheel spin I realized I was witnessing a real life example of my own situation.
There are of course tricks to the trade, to loosen what's stuck in the ketchup bottle. You're reading one right now. Sometimes I need to just exercise the muscles of writing, but in a different scene. Blog posts are awesome for this. It doesn't at all matter what I write about, I just need to write something (Did you hear about the time I wrote an entire blog post about pens?) Just get things going is all, keep my fingers used to the feeling of clicking on the keyboard. I will probably when this post is done go back to the books I've read in research for this sermon, and look over my highlights again to see if anything sparks. I'm getting pretty close to the nuclear option, to head out and get some breakfast and try to write outside the office. This is a double edged sword, because more often than not a quick meal at the mall food court turns in to test driving MacBooks I have no intention of buying, which quickly turns into "Oh Lord it's 2:00 and the kids are coming for Chick-Fil-A and I still have nothing written!" So you have to be careful there.
I'm sure it will come. Eventually. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I have come to discover, rarely gives a rip about my calendar or schedule. This too can be a dangerous area. You can convince yourself to just sit back and wait for inspiration, and put the work off till later. My experience has been that while the Spirit's inspiration comes when it wants, I had better be sitting at a keyboard ready to jot it down when it does.
Why is there so much pressure? It's back to what we've been talking about the last few weeks, there is good news to be proclaimed, and I've been asked to proclaim it. I live with the iron clad conviction that the passages that have been set before me by the Lectionary are exactly what someone in our congregation needs to hear this week. Someone in our midst needs to hear a fresh word, a conviction, a comfort, a reassurance. And I've been asked to serve as delivery man.
But the pressure is also the release valve. I'm certain that if I show up and do the work, if I'm open to what God has for me, for us as a congregation, that the same Spirit that breathed the words of Scripture to it's writers will breath some words of clarity in me. But, just to prime the pump, maybe it's time for a donut...