I rarely "practice" sermons in the pulpit. Either I don't have time because I'm finishing the writing up until the last minute or I simply don't think about it. I was a competitive speaker in high school and preaching has never scared me from the perspective of actually talking in front of people.
But I practiced my sermon Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of the Saturday night service and the baptism and my bishop's presence and my parents and my in-laws. All things considered, it just seemed like a good idea.
And I cried -- alone in the sanctuary -- about half-way through my sermon I just lost it.
Overwhelmed with the emotion of the week's events ... exhausted from having family in town and a teething baby ... whatever the reason I thought, "Well, it's a good thing I practiced so I don't actually cry when there are people here."
I should have known better.
I got really, really choked up during worship.
And more than anything, after worship was over and we'd had cake and I was trying to sleep before doing it all over again this morning, I was mad, angry that I'd *almost* cried in the pulpit.
Somehow I thought that people would think less of me.
Maybe I thought less of myself that I couldn't "keep it together."
Clearly I'm still sorting out (without trying to dwell or obsess about it) how I feel about all of it.
I didn't get choked up this morning. I felt better. But I did wonder which sermon (service) was better.