Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Ephesians 5:14, NIV
What's a preacher's worst fear? Getting totally lost in the middle of a sermon ranks pretty high on the list. Using the wrong name at a wedding or funeral is unnerving. Showing up late is a big no-no. How about messing up the Lord's Prayer? I've done that. Twice. On Sunday morning. Actually forgot how it started one time. Yeah, I know "Our Father" is not that hard, but I still flubbed it.
I once inserted an "h" in the worst possible place to do so in the old, traditional form of the Apostle's Creed. Made an archaic profanity with that little beauty, right in the middle of Sunday morning worship. I'll let you do a little exploring and see if you can figure it out. Let's just say my mother would have said, "that's not very ministerial."
Sunday in and Sunday out though, here's my biggest fear - that I will make the Good News boring. If it's Good News, really the very best news, then it ought to be interesting and engaging, right? Not necessarily entertaining, but surely not boring.
People sleep through just about every sermon. I know that. Even Billy Graham probably saw a few eyelids in his ministry. Two thousand years after the Apostle Paul's ministry, we still get to read about him knocking one out during a long sermon, thanks to Luke's account of the early Church in the book of Acts. Actually, he didn't just knock him out; Paul killed the poor guy.
Luke tells it in verses 7-12 of chapter 20. Paul, he says, "kept on talking until midnight." A young fellow named Eutychus was sitting in a window, fell asleep, and plummeted three stories to the ground below. Luke goes on to say that he was "picked up dead." Paul tells everybody not to worry because Eutychus is not dead. He keeps on preaching - until dawn - and Eutychus goes home no worse for the wear.
So, last week I'm preaching on Easter morning via Facebook Live since we're all stuck at home with this sheltering in place business. Easter's the Big Day, right? It's what the World Series is for a baseball player, the Masters is for a golfer, what Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ol Opry are for musicians, depending on their genre, of course. Of all days to keep 'em awake, Easter's the one. I mean, if a preacher can make the empty tomb boring enough that the parishioners are nodding off, then maybe that preacher ought to be looking for other work.
Well, I did it. My first shot at preaching on Easter to precious Hazel, my granddaughter, and she's out like a rock. My son made sure to send me the picture at the top pretty much as soon as I said the closing prayer.
She may be a sleepy head through a sermon or two, especially in these first few years of life. But my prayer is that soon her eyes will be wide open to the wonder of God's love and the abundance of His incredible grace. I pray that He will awaken her soul to repentance and to the new life that is found only in Jesus. And that's my prayer for the world.