There is something reflective, even meditative, about some of James Taylor’s greatest songs. Country Road and Sweet Baby James spring to mind – the lone traveler, lost in his/her thoughts, on a journey, far from home, still a ways to go.
People often ask me where I get ideas for sermons. They assume it all comes from the internet these days, but it isn’t true. For me, a lot of it still comes from something I’ve read, whether in the paper, or a book. Things I see, or things I experience can be flash points as well. Just the other day I was driving down 83 under the most beautiful blue sky, going to see someone in the hospital who had been told they had two weeks to live. There is a sermon in there, for sure. One day I might even preach it.
I do a lot of my thinking about things when I am out walking or running. That is when I can turn thinks over in my mind, try them out, understand a connection. One of the great challenges of our age is finding a few minutes to actually think something through. There is so much ‘thought clutter’ out there, to coin a term – constant information, the buzzing and dinging of incoming emails, texts, alerts, let alone carrying a phone with you all the time so people can call you anywhere, and on and on and on. I am sometimes amazed that when I can find some quiet, uninterrupted thinking time, I still have a few ideas floating around in my head.
That is in part why I have learned over the years that I cannot work in my office. Not to say I don’t go to my office – I sit in it for hours each day, more hours than I probably should. But it is very rare when I write anything in my office – whether sermon, eulogy, wedding charge, whatever it might be. It just isn’t possible to get any thinking work done there.
So I am glad I have other places to create that quiet that I sometimes crave. My home dining room, with my loyal pooch laying at my feet is one such place. so is the track at the local high school. Or just about any walk, on any day, in any weather, on that proverbial ‘country road.’ Thanks James.