A year ago, or a little over, when I arrived at vicar factory, I had no idea if I’d ever be any good at preaching, and it was the thing that, honestly, scared me most. Tonight, on the way to evensong, a new student was telling me how nervous they were of performing in public. I couldn’t resist smiling, thinking that I hoped they were going to stay on after evensong for the Eucharist, where I gave my college sermon, because I knew, if they did, that hopefully they’d hear in the closing phrases the same assurance that I have found.
A year ago, though nervous, I also knew that I was in the right place at the right time, and that whatever I was going to need, I would be given. I’ve been given some great examples and some great mentors and opportunities to hear and learn too, but I’ve also been given gifts I didn’t know I had, to use for the building up of God’s people in every place. A year ago, I would never have dared to think that I’d be where I am now, and that confidence wells from a pure and simple faith that although much was – and is – going to be required, much was – and is – going to be given. It was a sermon for me as much as for others, and I guess, given the feedback, it hit home.
I’ve never been brilliant at taking credit, but I’m happy, while humbled, to take people’s praise tonight, when I know that it’s deflected beyond me to the glory of its inspiration. A year from now, I guess I’ll be looking out at a sea of parishioners, hoping that the words of my lips truly are acceptable to our rock and our redeemer, and I’ll be ever grateful for learning to work with those gifts here, among such supportive and helpful fellow sojourners, and remember how I felt a year ago, and how I feel tonight.