How often does our writing - be it poems, prayers, sermons or reflections convict us. Especially when we think we have written them for another. I’ve always been aware in my preaching practice that I’m speaking into the areas that are itching in my life, into the struggles that I own, into the places that I need to grow. If the words I use also speak into the struggle of others, especially those with whom I share community and faith, I am grateful. In parish ministry, this happened more often because I was engaged in listening and walking alongside folk and, together, we were able to articulate where we experienced God and what constituted good news for our community.
On other occasions the words that we offer to others arise from the unconscious or unacknowledged in ourselves and it may take some time before we become aware of that and have the opportunity of addressing it.
I’m not sure that I think out loud - perhaps I do. But I know that I process out loud, by writing.
It’s not the first time that my writing has caused offence - and on the whole I’ve been largely unapologetic about that. If my processing offends you, touching a nerve, exposing a wound, then perhaps you have some work of your own to do.
Recently, however, wanting to find a way of expressing concern for and appreciation of a friend, I penned some words that have, in fact, found their way back to me, confronting me, challenging me, mostly in a good way but I have been surprised by their incisiveness in revealing things of which I was blissfully unaware or perhaps skilfully denying - wounds buried deep, well scabbed over. And while that means I have some work to do, I can’t help smiling at the temerity of God, who never lets us off the hook but who will always find a way in, a way to breach whatever armour we have embraced. As the saying goes:”Be careful what you wish for!”
In the Spirit of God’s temerity I look forward to grasping hold of a thread and seeing what unravels or where it leads.