Who’s feeding whom?

I have just spent some time this morning with Tearfund’s international staff at their headquarters in Teddington. This is our third session together, looking at the life of Jeremiah- and we shall have one final session tomorrow. These highly motivated men and women are working all over the world amongst the planet’s poorest people. Day by day they feed the hungry, and this week it is my honour to feed them from the word of God.

The thing is, though, they feed me as much as I feed them. Their enthusiasm, their rapt attention, the nods of recognition when I talk about defiant faith in adverse circumstances – all these things fuel the preacher. I hope this is something more profound than simply saying that I am enjoying myself. No, this is evidence, surely, of the theological truth that the sermon is a word-event, where all are participants and not just the preacher? It is a truth particularly, though not exclusively, understood and practised by the black majority churches. When it works preacher and people, like Escher’s hands in the picture below, get caught up in one single act of truth-experience where it becomes impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Image: etropolis.com

Have you experienced this too?