I was preaching in a beautiful white clapboard Presbyterian Church in a small Texas town recently. The speaker for their consecration service got ill at the last minute and I agreed to fill in. I adapted a sermon I had preached a few months before to the week and the occasion. I was very tired, having overbooked the weekend with teaching a Lay Speakers Course all day Saturday, preaching their closing service, and then going to do a workshop on finding hope in the holidays that Sunday afternoon at my home Church.
I knew I might be in trouble the night before when I went to bed and, as I lay my head down on the pillow, my ears were ringing. This is a warning sign for me that I am overtired. But I got up and drank some coffee and drove the hour and a half to the church. I preached a children’s sermon to which the children actually seemed to be listening. Then it came time for the adult sermon. I felt a little low energy but tried to rise to the occasion, with the Holy Spirit as my helper of course. The only problem was that, for the first time in all my years of preaching, when I got to the end, I forgot it.