Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sheer Thankfulness

This week I have been back teaching full classes on The Principles of Preaching. As I expected, within hours of returning to the US an avalanche of waiting correspondence and expectation has almost obliterated memories of our sabbatical break. But not completely obliterated! Carol and I reflected today on some of the high-points of the sabbatical, such as:
  • That work table in the seventeenth century cottage, with a view over snow covered roofs of Wallingford and undisturbed time reflecting on Jesus’ questions today.
  • Waking up to the grandchildren excited at their sleep-over with a whole day of grand-parenting ahead – feeding the ducks, walking in the snow, staring into the log fire and chatting about life.
  • Seeing old friends – reconnecting with people we had not seen for many (many) years and experiencing such joy in friendship and shared memories. This was a huge plus throughout our sabbatical.
  • Speaking at the Evangelical Homiletics Conference on the subject that has dominated my last five years - Connecting Preaching and Worship - and experiencing feedback in a top-notch plenary session. Yes, other profs and pastors agree this is a vital issue!
  • Worshipping in the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church pulpit, Toronto, with a full choir behind me, singing “I was glad when they said unto me” after I had preached on Psalm 122.
  • Cleaning up the ash and laying kindling for the log and coal fire, recapturing household duties fifty years ago.
  • Reveling in a slower pace where quiet study was interwoven with country walks and unhurried conversations. Truly restorative.

I am so thankful for this time away and hope that the privilege of refreshment will be evident in the renewed energy I bring to teaching and living through this new year!

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