I tend to have this routine where, after writing a sermon, I beat myself up for having written something of substandard quality. It never fails, really. I just never seem to be satisfied with the sermons I produce.
It was no different when I finally finished my sermon last night. I read through it a couple of times and while I couldn't really figure out anything to add to make it better, I just felt like it wasn't good enough.
The sermon text was Job 19.23-27, where Job proclaims that he knows that his redeemer lives. It's a very popular funeral text. I lived with the text for a long time, constantly running over it in my head, trying to figure out what Gospel there was that needed to be proclaimed. I managed to write a sermon and, as aforementiond, thought it was fairly poor. But I just couldn't figure out how to make it better.
Well, I drove over the to Presby seminary this morning and got set up for worship. A large crew came from the mothership, most said they were only coming because I was preaching. We went through the service, I got up and preached and thought that it went over well. Generally when I start preaching it, and am able to hear it as I proclaim it to the gathered people, my opinion of the sermon increases a little. But I was genuinely surprised by the reaction after the service.
Several people came up to me and complimented me. A professor from the Presby seminary said that she teaches Job and that she was impressed with the sermon. Most of the students from the mothership who were present complimented me, as well as a few of the professors who were present. After returning to the mothership, people who were at the service have been coming up to me and complimenting me. In fact, our Dean of the chapel/Professor of Liturgics has told me that he was proud to be from Wartburg today! I was completely floored by that one. So, obviously the Spirit was able to work through my words, regardless of how I felt about them. Needless to say, my opinion of them has increased a tad bit!