Saturday, 10 May 2008

An inflateable skeleton to preach the gospel?

Tomorrow I shall preach in my former parish in Ferney for the first time since I left 6 years ago. It's Pentecost and five young people will be asking for confirmation, two of them for baptism on profession of faith. This morning Bernard and I have been hanging up the various "spirit-filled" works of art the young people painted at our KT session last week.
And now I'm wondering about my sermon and instead of writing it I'm doing this. Surprised? I'm not. When I'm in sermon-writing mode even the washing up or the weeding in the garden begin to seem attractive. Of course the sermon is there, sort of in my head, now I just need to get it out. I have strange fantasies of being able to press a special part of my earlobe and get a print out from my mouth. Hmmm...
I am preaching on Ezekiel 37 which is a wonderful passage - it's what inspired the song "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones - now hear the word of the Lord". When I was in the north of France I took a regional youth service and did a dramatic rendering of the text with young people running around the church being the spirit of the Lord coming from east and north and west and south and pulling back the large cloth which was covering the dry bones, only to reveal an inflateable skeleton. Bones filled with breath. In Genevan Protestant circles the preferred translation for Holy Spirit is "souffle saint" (rather than Esprit Saint) which means holy breath.
After that service in Dunkirk we put the inflated skeleton into the front passenger seat of our British mini - that's right in Britain they drive on the left and in France on the right. If you didn't know better you might have thought the skeleton was driving.
Now if I was really into procrastination I could go down to the garage and try to find which box dear old skelly is in. However, I hear the spirit calling - "Get on with it Jane, otherwise you won't be allowed to watch Dr Who tonight." Oh well better leave tidying the garage for another day, shame really. At least I have a title for the sermon but more of that tomorrow, after the preaching of it is over.