Yesterday was a very satisfying day of preaching, mostly because I worked harder on this sermon than I had any other sermon in a long time. Some of this hard work could be attributed to fear of looking like a fool if I didn't have the Revised Common Lectionary standing behind me. Some of the hard work could be attributed to a desire to to other things besides laundry and other household chores, and a longing for some intellectual stimulation. I was also not subject to the tyranny of the urgent last week, something that often happens in congregational life--funerals, complainers, preparing for a special service, a complicated leadership meeting, staff unrest, etc.
I think the real reason I had to work harder was that the resources and themes for a local, thematic sermon were not readily available. This week I am back on the Revised Common Lectionary, the congregation where I preach this coming Sunday uses the RCL in its worship life. All I have to do is go to textweek.com and I have numerous resources, I could attend a lectionary text study, I can listen to podcasts about text interpretation at workingpreacher.org. These are great resources, but sometimes they have become excuses for me not to think through texts and do some of my own study. That's not the RCL's fault--it's mine. The reminder is that I need to change gears and gain a new perspective before I get in a preaching rut.