James Preaches

My son, James (14), preached the sermon for youth Sunday today. My daughter Katherine (10) dedicated the shawls that she and some others at the church have been knitting and will give to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital later this week. Katherine also provided music in the children’s choir, which I lead as Sunday school teacher of the 5 to 11 year-olds. It was a pretty special day.

James and I worked on the sermon through the week. We talked about the scripture. He read some commentaries. We discussed some public speaking techniques and some structural things. We also talked about putting together a message that related to the people at Chalice. He did a great job. My mom said it best, telling him that not only did he do a wonderful job, but he sounded like James.

Driving to IHOP after church I was telling him what a wonderful job he did. We were talking about how special preaching was and how it felt different to us than giving a speech or a presentation. I recounted how Dad had always talked about feeling the Spirit move in him when he preached. James said he could see that. Then he reached into his jacket pocket and said, “Hey, look what was still in my suit coat, I found it there this morning when I put it on.” It was the program from Dad’s funeral folded such that only his picture was showing. “How about that” was all I could get out.

It sort of capped off the bitter sweet feelings I’ve been having all week. One minute feeling so connected to my Dad, like I was walking in his footsteps, the next so desperately missing him and wishing he could’ve been here to see his grandson. I suspect this grieving remembering combo is going to be with me for the rest of my life. It does cause me to tear up, but I do so while smiling.

3 replies on “James Preaches”

Sunday’s worship service is filed away in my “best ever” category. I, too, am left with the sense that anything I say will simply miss the mark. You and your family, Jim, call forth deep respect from me. You inspire me. I am grateful for all of you as pastor and friend.

I thought of your dad often while James was preaching and wished deeply that he could be sitting there with Pam and your family. I can see the grin on his face.

What a rush of emotion this all must have set off for you. Your words seem to describe something sacred. You quiet me.

I wonder if grief feels so deep because it’s seeking the level of our gratitude and love and joy over the one who is gone.

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