Preaching from the choir

On Thursday evening I went to the LaSalle Street Church sanctuary to record a sermon for this Sunday’s streaming service.

There’s…a lot of emotion packed into that statement! It was my first time inside the church building since February 2020, and there are few religious spaces that mean as much to me as this sanctuary.

And the fact of my being there to film a *sermon*: Maybe I’ll write the whole story here someday, but suffice it to say that preaching at LaSalle—a church I’ve come to love (with some really high-caliber preachers!), a church that’s helped to rehabilitate and rebuild my life of faith over the last three years—is, well, pretty darn intimidating and exhilarating and wonderful, a collision of so many different relationships and influences and opportunities over the last 32 years, so many graces.

A peek behind the curtain: The church is fortunate to have a few people on staff with video production expertise, and they’ve set up an impressive makeshift studio in the church’s choir loft. This means the background for each week’s sermon video is the empty sanctuary—a fitting and poignant reminder of our temporary displacement—and the view for the preacher is this staggering (and recently-restored) window.

Needless to say, it was an atypical setup for delivering the first sermon I’ve delivered in years! Add this to the long list of things it would be difficult to go back in time one year ago and try to explain: “This time next year, you’ll be preaching (!) for LaSalle (!!) to a camera in an empty sanctuary (!!!).” It was strange to experience the weight and privilege of trying to deliver a word of truth in this asynchronous, distanced way: I “delivered” the message on Thursday night and am waiting for it to be “delivered” via YouTube on Sunday morning. Here’s hoping/praying God works in that already-and-not-yet.

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