This (wet) week I am fully engaged in the International Congress of Preaching which is being held at my old church, St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge. The theme: Preaching Hope in an Age of Fear is being addressed by a succession of preachers - many of them African American - and many of whom (to my great joy) I know through my Chicago and US days.
However, yet again my emailing system let me down. Oh No! Many months ago the organizer asked me to be willing to give the Keynote Address when the conference began on Tuesday. I began reflecting seriously on the theme several weeks ago (the advantage of semi-retirement) and drafted some possible options. Because I was preaching at my own church at Histon in July I was able to develop one of these passages which sums up Christian hope for me. When, in the dark storm, Christ walks on the water to meet his disciples and says: ' It is I: do not be afraid!' (John 6:20).
But, two weeks ago, local publicity blazoned that I was preaching on the final night! I assumed this was instead of the keynote. Only on Friday, with 3 days to go, did I see (from a local church notice) that I was preaching both the keynote and the final address. What?! On Sunday morning I met the organizer who anxiously explained that he had started emailing me in May giving me full details and he was in despair about my failure to reply..Oh technology! Yet another notch on the learning curve! I'll let you know how it all ends!