Dead wood?

This final item is the oldest, and may even be dated in the millions of years It is a small piece of fossilised, or petrified wood.  It sits right next to my computer monitor where sermons are written.

The wood is hard, scratchy and unyielding to the touch – not at all the way wood ought to feel. There is not the slightest sensory recollection of the way it used to feel when it was a living thing.  This is exactly why I pick it up and turn it over in my hands when thinking about what to say from the pulpit.  At a conservative estimate I have probably preached 800 or so sermons in this church. The temptation to be lazy, simply to trot out the same old things, grows greater as that number increases.  My little piece of prehistory is a reminder to me about quite how unappealing that would be and how little life it would bring.  Whilst an old idea may occasionally be revisited, preaching always needs to be fresh.

The day when an old sermon ‘will do’ is the day my piece of million-year old wood will sprout green shoots if I push it into the soil.