Just Be You

admincccckc Senior Minister Blog

“Just be you” were the words John spoke to me a few years ago when I went into the soundproof room to record a radio ad for the Christmas Eve service.  That’s pretty good advice for most of us, most of the time but it was a little strange in that moment.

I was tucked tightly into a soundproof room.  There were huge headphones on my ears, a bottle of water nearby and a music stand for my script.  My voice sounded very loud.  All of it was strange.  I began to sweat.  I got what my actor friends call the flop sweats.  Huge drops of perspiration flowed down my face.  I couldn’t concentrate.  “How can I be myself when I feel a little claustrophobic and overwhelmed with stage fright?” I thought to myself.

Then I remembered the advice of a good friend right before I went to preach live on television: “Preach to Madge.” What he meant was try not to imagine that 100,000 people are tuning in to watch you.  “If you think about the huge crowd,” he said, “you’ll be so self conscious that your sermon, no matter how good the content, will stink.  Instead, imagine you are talking with a beloved parishioner, someone maybe named Madge.  Talk like you are having coffee with her.”

Recalling his words while stuffed in that sound booth helped me get over my nerves.  I talked to Madge.  A couple of takes later we were done.

I remember his advice every year on Christmas Eve when 2,000 folks show up at Country Club Christian Church for our worship services.  It helps me stay on target, not overwhelmed by the crowd.

His words also remind me of some of the most beautiful pieces of scripture, the ones spoken not to thousands but to individuals, women and men, or small groups of folks who are in distress.  “Fear not,” the angel says, over and over again throughout the Bible.  “Peace to you,” Jesus says to his closest and dearest friends.  Those words of hope cover just about every situation we face in life.  Even in the worst of times, if fear is left aside, peace can be found.

I’m off in a couple of hours to record this year’s Christmas Eve ad.  Madge, in case you’re listening, I’ll be talking to you!