“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrigheousness.” I John 1: 9
So…Sunday. I was preaching this past Sunday and that means since we have an online service my sermon needed to be done and ready for filming by Thursday. But I was having a hard time writing my sermon. I had written it and then on Wednesday tossed what I had written and began all over again and even then I was not happy with what I had written. In fact, I referred to my sermon as a “hot mess.” My daughter told me I should just toss it and read the chapter on Empathy out of Brene Brown’s book “Dare to Lead.” I should have taken her advice.
You see, I preached a sermon that utilized several scripture passages that I just felt called to talk about. When I tried to use just one, I kept putting in the others…It was a frustrating process. And, in the midst of that process, I ended up using the name of Jacob’s wife as the name for Jacob’s mother. I made a mistake. A rookie mistake and one that I know that I know that I know what Jacob’s mother’s name is: Rebekah. But did I call her Rebekah? No. Not once but twice during the filming of the sermon I called her Rachel. Now…Rachel was the woman who would become Jacob’s wife. She was definitely not his mother. But on Sunday when the sermon I filmed was aired, those who tuned in heard me use Rachel as Rebekah’s name. (heavy sigh) The funny thing is how I caught the mistake and how I had our moderator put in a disclaimer in the comments. I let her know a little before 9am…8:48 am to be precise.
Remember, my process for writing this particular sermon, was rife with frustration. So, throughout the night I dreamed about this sermon I was not happy with. Maybe I should say I had nightmares about this sermon. And at one point during my dream/nightmare I believe God began to show me how I could do some editing and those edits would make it a much better sermon. (Which I did the following morning and the sermon I preached Sunday morning in person was far better then the one I filmed.) But then, in my dream, I clearly remember being told: “Oh and by the way, Jacob’s mom’s name is Rebekah.” It was at that point in the night I quit dreaming. When I woke, I remembered the dream/nightmare and realized with horror I had indeed filmed the sermon using Rachel for Rebekah’s name. I had made a mistake.
In the scheme of things this is not a huge mistake. It is one I don’t like to make. I am trusted with preaching and preaching as accurately as possible. Since I am confessing my error, I should let you know in all full disclosure: it is a mistake I have made before. I seem to get these two women’s names backward but not in a sermon…at least I don’t think I have. I also know that I have done what I could to let people know I made the mistake. And believe me when I tell you I truly wish I had the option to re-record the online sermon before it aired.
But I also know that while God was probably laughing at my foible, God was also forgiving me my mistake. Because we all make mistakes in life. Some of them small. Some of them significant. In each mistake we make we can always learn from them and try diligently to avoid making them again. Our history becomes important to remember as we navigate life. I think it is also important to know that our past doesn’t need to dictate our future if we learn and grow from it. We are more than just one decision in life. When we find ourselves in situations that seems similar and we remember why they feel so similar, we can navigate this new but similar situation better because we have learned more effective ways to handle ourselves because of our past mistakes.
But don’t make the mistake of saying: “well I won’t ever do that again.” As James Bond said: Never say Never. You don’t know what your future holds and you might miss out on something wonderful because instead of learning lessons from the mistakes we have made, we have chosen to avoid any future situations where we might make a similar mistake. Trust me it is easier to learn the lessons. So, I will preach again. I may even make another mistake…although I will try very hard not to! And for those who heard my online sermon…I am sorry for the mistake. I hope you will forgive me.