One of the great dangers of traditional preaching what Doug calls “speeching” is being seduced by an image or an illustration that seems perfect, but really has no connection to what you are trying to say. That happened to me tonight as I was pulling together my Ash Wednesday meditation. I had a great opening image, something that I was convinced would be engaging and pull folks into thinking about this strange service where we rub ashes on each other’s face. I told the story, and it was clear that folks were leaning in, ready to pounce on my next words when I realized that the story I was tell really had no direct connection to the point I was trying to make. It was clear that I had about 30 seconds left in this story, and I had no clue where I was going to go next.
Somehow, it worked itself out, but not without a bunch of pushing and shoving. It may have made sense, but I’m not really sure.