Rev. Carol Rosine
I have preached well over 800 sermons during my time as your minister. That’s a lot of mulling over the books and newspapers I’ve read, mulling the academic work I’ve completed, but mostly mulling the stories you’ve told me.I’ve tried to keep up with recently published articles and commentaries, but in my busy schedule it is often the programs I listen to on NPR while driving or at home doing the dishes that spark an idea for a future sermon.It has been important for you to learn about Unitarian Universalism, our history and traditions, but most of the time I have found myself preaching about Life itself-what is happening in the world and how we can respond, as well as how to understand those tough and tender times that happen in our day to day lives.
Preachers soon learn to keep their ears and eyes open for something/ anything that can be used in a sermon. It is best, of course, when we can talk personally about something that has happened in our own lives, things that we’ve processed enough to derive deeper meaning. But my life hasn’t been interesting enough to provide me with 800 stories, so I apologize to those of you who have had to listen to stories of my childhood and young adult years, my troubles and travails, my learnings and even triumphs over and over again. Thank goodness I’ve had the stories and wisdom of others to draw from, but even these get repeated over the decades. I confess that I envy, sometimes, Christian and Jewish clergy who are expected to repeat familiar Biblical teachings as they move through the liturgical year.
I know that some of my sermons have fallen flat, have been real duds, but other times I’ve heard things like “you knocked it out of the park with that one,” or “you were preaching that one for me,” or “that was the best one ever,” or “you moved from preaching to meddling” when someone has been stretched by a sermon. Those are the Sundays when I leave the meetinghouse with a spring in my step. When I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.
Since I announced my retirement a few of you have mentioned sermons that you remember, that have continued to hold meaning for you. If you remember one that you would like to hear again, let me know, and if I remember it as well and can find it, I’ll preach it again before the end of the church year. It will be a “Carol’s Greatest Hits” series.One step in our saying goodbye.