My Biases, Unmasked

by The Rev. Barbara Mraz

Two of the things I love are preaching and the “old” television series “The West Wing.”

Yes, this is kind of a self-indulgent piece.

I come from a background in public address. I have been a political speechwriter (which after this week’s Convention is a label I am proud to claim!) and am a firm believer that most sermons should be planned very, very carefully and preferably be scripted. Some do great with an informal presentation; I am not one of them.

Not everyone agrees with my view. One priest (no one you know) told me that he doesn’t like to plan “too much” because he likes to leave room for the Holy Spirit to inspire him in the pulpit. A bishop once responded to this idea: “The Holy Spirit can inspire you just as readily in your office. And if She doesn’t show up as planned in the pulpit it can be pretty embarrassing — and deadly for the poor congregation…..”

President Bartlett and Mrs. Bartlett are returning from church, discussing the sermon, as he states his understanding of preaching – which is also mine. More importantly, his interpretation of Ephesians is spot on. He would have made a good preacher (true believers in the West Wing know the irony here…okay I’ll just tell you; originally Josiah Bartlett wanted to be a priest.)

And just when we’re really happy, reality can break in, as it does at the end of the scene.

(I tried to get make the ad at the beginning go away – but you know what to do….)

Sunday’s sermon has some amazing lessons to draw on, and you can actually understand WHY the lectionary planners put them all together – which often completely eludes me! Enslaved in Egypt, the Israelites cry out to God, “How long, O Lord, how long?” words familiar to each of this during Covid.

See you in virtual church.


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