Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Intro to these poems

The best preaching starts with a jump-off that has grabbed the preacher in some way, and that "hook" gets the congregation engaged, too.  Often it's something in the biblical text that has made the preacher wonder, and then the preacher and congregation get to explore the question together.  Or it's something that happened in the news or in the preacher's life, maybe a movie, or book, or other experience that suddenly makes a connection in the preacher's mind with the witness of the ages.  One of those inspirations could very well be a poem.

I've been a Presbyterian pastor for over thirty-five years and written untold numbers of, if not "Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," then poems, hymns and limericks.  I do it so much it's as if I can't not write them.  So recently, in a sort of semi-retirement, and not preaching every week, I've decided to see if it might be a help to people who are, by writing a poem based on something in the lectionary for the coming week.  I've been sending them out by e-mail to several friends and colleagues.  My current pastor asked me the other day if she could print one in Sunday's bulletin, and it made me wonder if I should make these poems more widely available.  

So thanks to my wife, I now have this blog; and thanks to you, the good news is getting told week after week to people who always need to be fed in faithful and nourishing ways.  I will try to help by writing a poem a week.  If it grabs you in some way, great!  If you'd like to print it, you're welcome to, with my name on it, since every poem here is copyrighted.  And if you have any comments to make, I welcome them.  

In the next post, I'll put the poem for Epiphany, that could be used next year, then a couple more before we get to Lent.  And we'll go from there.  And as Dudley Sarfaty, a dear departed colleague of mine, always said every week after he'd previewed my sermon by e-mail, "Have fun!"

Scott L. Barton
Amherst, Massachusetts

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