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A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

by The Reverend Dr. Roman D. Roldan on May 07, 2024

TLDR: This blog is an answer to the question, “Other than Church, what exactly do you do on Sundays?”

I always wake up at 4:30 on Sunday mornings. After some meditation, time getting dressed, and a first cup of coffee, I drive to the office around 5:15. From 5:30 to 7:00 am, I read and re-read my sermon, and if I feel I have memorized it well enough, I preach it from the landing above the nave. If I have not memorized it well enough, I preach it from the pulpit (Also known as the Sweat Box.) Sometimes, I feel confident enough after several readings and use the rest of the time to answer emails or read a book. This last Sunday, May 5th, I used the rest of the time to prepare a longer version of the same sermon, which I was to preach at the Village at Gleannloch Farms at 2:00pm. They have invited me once a year for the last two years to “preach for 35 to 40 minutes,” at their Sunday service. I enjoy teaching at the Village every month and I was looking forward to preaching for them, although the length of the sermon was intimidating.

I did not expect anyone to attend the 7:45 service because of the severe thunderstorms and rain over the last week. Various areas of our town were flooded and it was pitch dark even at 7:00 in the morning. To my surprise, we had eight people in attendance and this made me as joyful as if I had three hundred people on the pews. I preached part two of a sermon I started last week on the Parable of the Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-17.) Last week I preached verses 15:1-8 and this week I preached on 15:9-17. For me, most sermons take a week to prepare (Sometimes this ideal is altered by circumstance.) I use the passage for prayer on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoons, I read commentaries and prior sermons I have preached on the same passage (I have a script for almost every sermon I have preached for 17 years.) and I write a script. On Thursdays, I make necessary changes, and on Sundays, I practice the delivery.

I challenge myself not to recycle old sermons. Knowing that all sermons are loaded up to our website, and you can check my sermon for the last time this passage appeared three years ago, helps to keep me honest. The sermon for this week, however, did not take long to prepare. I had already done all the research for the sermon I preached last week and I had plenty of notes. Additionally, I love this particular parable and have read extensively on it over the years. This passage is incredibly relevant for an election year. The mandate to “remain in Jesus’ love” is as important to us today as it was to the disciples gathered in the upper room. They are soon to lose their friend and where Jesus goes they can not yet follow. They who are not of the world are in the world, and they will have to confront the antagonistic powers of the world. If they don’t hold on to Jesus, if they don’t remain firmly grafted into the vine, they will not be able to endure the strong winds of opposition and persecution. They will falter and lose their faith. They will not be able to produce the fruit that gives glory to the Father. We too must hold on firmly to Jesus. We must clasp our fingers tightly around the vine, as the winds of polarization, secularism, civil religion, and uncivility continue to advance. If we abide in his love, no force will ever be able to weaponize our faith or highjack our hope. When the Church loosens its hold on Jesus, it always ends up worshiping people and things that don’t have the power to save. We become enamored with power and wealth. We go to bed with the politicians and the powers of the day and forget about the least and the lost. We hide behind catchy ideologies to obscure our apathy and cruelty. We must remain firmly rooted in love because we were created by love, in love, and for love.

I digressed, but let me now continue with my day in the life narrative. Something unusual happened at the 9:00 am service. I usually preach a briefer sermon at 7:45 than at 9:00am, but today I reversed that trend. We had planned the second Master Plan Townhall to take place right after this service. Dick Deming, Elizabeth Burkes, and Flint Risen did a phenomenal job bringing the congregation up to speed on our impressive master plan. We are almost ready to discuss a Phase One project at Vestry and the team asked for our prayers. The meeting was well attended both in person and online. It was exciting to see a final product, and although it is going to take many years to accomplish the full master plan, there is great hope for what we might be able to do together. We will keep you informed as our plans progress.

The 11:15 service had a lower attendance than usual, perhaps because of the rain. By the time I preached the same sermon for the third time, I was ready for the service at the Village. It felt good preaching to all English-Speaking congregations today. Usually, Mother Leesa and I share the preaching and celebrating duties, but she is on vacation today and I get to do it all, just as I did before we had curates. I was blessed by the kind words of appreciation from parishioners who enjoyed the sermon. Those brief comments are important to preachers because it is our deepest aspiration that our sermons convict, encourage, console, and comfort you. A sermon that doesn’t enliven your hope may be a good class or a fine discourse, but it is not the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus. A well-preached and scripture-centered sermon always leads to hope.

The chapel at the Village was full. Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics, and Baptists of all types gathered together to hear the Word of God and to sing their favorite hymns (The Rugged Old Cross, Onward Christian Soldiers, Glory-Glory-Glory, etc.) I tried my best to preach a 40-minute sermon as requested, but I fell a bit short of 30. Overall, the message was well received and I could see that my parishioners were proud to introduce me to their friends. One of the highlights for me was to see one of our high school acolytes sitting at the front of the congregation. I had issued an invitation at all services and he took me up on it. I was proud that he chose to spend some time with older folks, listening to a long sermon he had already heard. I am often very impressed by our kids, especially our acolytes.

After the service at the village I drove to see Mayleen Collins at a local rehabilitation facility. I was glad that she was awake and recognized who I was. I had spent some time with this beautiful lady back in 2020 when I used to log on to her reunion groups on Saturdays, and I visited her at her home several times before her health changed. I read Psalms 23, 46, and 121 to her and gave her communion (a bit of wine on her lips.) After 20 minutes, I drove home, exhausted, but happy to have been fully engaged in the Lord’s vineyard, doing exactly what he called me to do.

But wait! There is more. After a much needed nap, my beautiful wife and I went Latin Music Dancing at Wiskey River North. We danced Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, and Cumbia until their Cinco de Mayo celebration turned the whole place into a Mexican party. We then watched dozens of people dance to Rancheras, Cordilleras, and Mexican Cumbias, silently wishing we could join them, but that level of dancing is beyond our skill level. Perhaps someday! All in all, it was an incredible day and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

May our Lord continue to bless you,

Fr. Roman+

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