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April 2021


When I was in seminary, in Homiletics (the fancy name for Preaching) class they always told us to videotape our sermons and watch ourselves afterwards. I never did. That was probably due to what I call “tape recorder” syndrome, i.e., very few people like the sound of their own voice. For over 22 years of ministry, I avoided any encounter with myself as others actually experienced me. I knew what it felt like to preach. I was doing the preaching. It was you, the hearers of such preachment, that experienced it. I never was privy to how it must have felt to be on the other end of the encounter.

That’s all changed with COVID. With the advent of “livestreamed,” and thus recorded, worship, I have the ability AND the need to actually watch myself preach. Every Sunday, after I’m done in the church, I immediately go to the Rectory and get on Facebook to review the liturgy, specifically my sermon. Now I know every nervous tick, every unnecessary repetitive word, every time I look too much at my manuscript. FINALLY, I see and hear what you’ve experienced for years. That’s been very good for me. I don’t know to what extent that’s improved my preaching, if at all, but I am now much more aware of myself. That’s a good thing and a blessing.

It’s been the same way with our choir and musicians. I was talking the other day with our Cantor Joseph. We were talking about the way of making music during the Pandemic and how there have been unforeseen blessings. Individual singers record their parts on their phones with an accompaniment track. Among other things, this requires the singers to sing very rhythmically, something they don’t necessarily do when in a bunch. It also allows them, and Joseph, to hear themselves and the part they contribute. It’s very similar to me with preaching.

The point of this is to remind ourselves that there actually are REAL blessings that we will see out of this horrible experience called COVID. To be an Easter Christian is to realize that God is always bringing new life out of death. In the process, we get to see and hear ourselves better as we really are. Not as some ideal in our imaginations. I hope that you too have real concrete experiences that have changed you for the better. That’s part and parcel of our Easter hope.

Pr Ed Barnett



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St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church
2332 Grand Avenue
Baldwin, New York 11510
Phone (516) 223-1951
  May 2021  
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