Preaching for tomorrow
For reasons which will become apparent in just over a month’s time, I was reading the flight log of an American B52 bomber last night. The bomber in question was flying on August 5th 1945. After it had dropped its deadly payload , the plane’s co-pilot, Robert Lewis, famously wrote:
My God,what have we done?
Sometimes words have such portent and significance that they hang in the air for decades like the signature left on a dusty road by a truck which has passed by. By turns they may mock the person who spoke them or puzzle subsequent generations who hear them.
As preachers we are often torn between caution and courage when selecting our words. On the one hand, we long to speak words which will challenge, enliven and convict. On the other, we are a little afraid that our words may come back to haunt us.
When I was writing Stale Bread it was just about at the final stage, when I stumbled across the story of the ‘whispering of the stars’. In the book I describe it thus:
In the coldest parts of Siberia, where temperatures can drop to an agonising – 60 c, there is a certain time when the air is so cold that your breath freezes as you speak. Referred to by locals as the ‘whispering of the stars’, this weather means that each word can be heard falling to the ground with a soft ‘plop’ as it hits the snow. Ancient local legend has it that come the Spring, these words thaw out and can be heard again by anyone who passes by the spot where they were spoken.
Its an awesome thought, don’t you think, that our preached words might have a life way beyond the time and place where they were spoken?
If you are preaching this weekend – do it with confidence, and let God worry where the words go after the sermon is over.