Sermon Lane

Seriously, this is a real street leading to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. When I saw the sign I burst out laughing.  Even better — it lead to Knightrider Court — though I very much suspected that it was really supposed to lead to Nightrider Court.  I confess, I ride the night many weeks, while writing sermons. I do my reading in advance — sometimes months, sometimes weeks, I think about what I hope to say and even how I want to say it.  There is an interesting mid-point of the process of preparing to write when two things happen: first, the sum and strength of the sermon becomes crystal clear and second, I feel a passionate connection with it and an eagerness to get to work.  Unfortunately, that’s usually some days before I can actually sit down with the sermon itself.  Usually, I scratch out some thoughts and feel like I’ve at least set out a beacon for myself. Occasionally, when I finally sit down to write, the beacon may snuff out as though assaulted by a sharp wind — don’t know why. Sometimes, when I get into the writing, at last, may be even often — I am overcome by the seriousness of what I am undertaking.  One day a week, people make their way to the congregation I serve in search of a time of meaning, a ray of hope, a thoughtful catalyst to get moving in their lives again, solace, a hundred different things — each meaningful and worthy.  And whatever I have to say needs to be well worth the time they have given.   And sometimes, when I think about that, my sermon magically transforms into a fluffy bunny and hops away into the underbrush — to emerge only with treats and entreaties.  So, when I saw the street sign in London I naturally thought that on that stretch of road had once stood a deep and great wood but hundreds of years of clergy had come out of St. Paul’s to pace in the shadows while riding the night and facing the sermon demons and, over time, those feet had worn a path worthy of being called a street.

A parson who wanted to preach

And to have a good message to teach

Found herself at times stuck

and bewailing her luck,

motivated herself with a screech.

st pauls london





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