Two completely separate (I think) topics this morning. The first has to do with the sermons I give on Friday evenings. The second, that Eva and I had an actual date!
Once, while in rabbinical school, I was told that Christian ministers spend an average of 8 hours a week working on their Sunday sermons. At the time, I was astounded (I was, at the time, working in a congregation that I served weekly and did prepare a weekly sermon). After all, my sermons tended to be outlines rather than written out, and usually took me between thirty minutes and an hour. Until very recently, I remained astounded by the length of time Christian clergy spent on sermons, and have assumed that maybe they spend so much longer on sermons because it is more of the centerpiece of the service, whereas in Judaism the sermon is a little teaching that gets crammed into the liturgy.
In the last week or two, however, my view has been changing. I realize that while I still only spend half an hour or so working on a sermon, in the sense of putting pen to paper, there is a huge amount of time that gets devoted before that point. I think about what I will say while I shower in the morning or while driving to work. I play with language while I’m walking down the street. I try out ideas as I’m falling asleep at night. All that time begins to add up. I don’t think it comes anywhere near 8 hours, but I begin to see how one could spend eight hours a week working on a sermon (especially if one worked from a finished script, as opposed to notes).
I like working on sermons because it’s an opportunity for me to find new meaning in the text I’m working with (most often the Torah). I like it because it’s an opportunity to figure out what I’m thinking. And I like working on sermons because it’s a challenge to find something to say that is adequately meaningful that I feel like I’m not wasting the time of my congregation by saying it.
Eva and I may have figured out how to go on dates. Yesterday, we went to see a first-run movie for the first time in longer than I remember. It’s certainly been more than a year. We saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
We didn’t go see a movie the way normal people do. No. We went the way business owners do: an IT company rented the theater for a 9AM showing, took about 10 minutes to tell us about their products, promised to call us to set up a time tell us more about their products, and showed us Indiana Jones. Woohoo!
The movie was very good. Not in an art film kind of way, but in an Indiana Jones kind of way. Fast moving action, plot twists, and, of course, the hat and whip. What more could you ask for?
And we had breakfast together, which is pretty much a rarity also. But it means we had a meal and a movie. We call that a date.