I have found Christmas and Easter to be the most difficult times to preach. There are, of course, the external factors: the intensity of the season and number of services, the many visitors who have not been a part of the ongoing preaching conversation, the heightened expectations. But for me, the challenge is more than this. There is so much meaning, so much mystery in these feasts it is overwhelming. It is one thing to preach on a facet of the gospel, or a single story, like the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It is another thing altogether to preach on the meaning of the resurrection in 15 minutes. There is also the challenge of preaching on the same topic year after year - wondering if I've said something too many times already.
After 12 years of ministry in the same congregation, last July I began a one-year-long position as an interim priest. I have enjoyed beginning a new preaching conversation with a congregation. It has been an opportunity to focus and restate my theology and use my best images, without wondering if I've said it all before. I felt this was particularly true with my Easter sermon. I felt like after 28 years of wrestling with it, I finally not only had something to say, but was able to say it well.