The Writers Guild of America is about to go into its second week of strikes. I suppose I should not have been surprised to see that within hours of the strike being announced some of the notable talk show names – Letterman, Leno, Colbert, Stewart – dried up. Because these communicators operate so wittily, creatively and freshly you would think they could manage at least a few shows on their own, without teams of writers. But the truth is – keeping creatively fresh is hugely demanding. (Actually, that is why many creative people feel real sympathy for these writers, trying to cope with the implications of changing technology and customs).
This made me think of the millions of preachers preparing sermons for tomorrow, longing for a creative fresh word from Scripture. Why don’t we need teams of writers? How come that we don’t all dry up? Well, isn’t it the greatest tribute to Scripture’s inspiration that it has sustained billions of sermons since the church’s creation? And isn’t it an amazing testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit who first breathed on Scripture and keeps on bringing it alive? And isn’t it the great responsibility of preachers to stay open to God’s Word in Scripture, and dependent on God’s Word made flesh, and empowered by the creative power of the Holy Spirit right where they are?
When you are in God’s right place, humble, open, ready to be used, then God can make the old story fresh. What God wants in sermons tomorrow is authenticity not originality. Preachers who have lived in God’s word and lived with their people, and are ready to speak the fresh word because they know it matters eternally. Let’s go to it!