Today the results were announced officially: I am one of four winners of an international sermon writing contest put on by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Swiss Protestant Church on the occasion of John Calvin’s 500th birthday.
I don’t think of myself as the kind of person who wins contests. Usually, I don’t even win board games. And when I was in seminary one of my preaching professors told me that I was a miserable preacher who would never amount to anything as a clergyman. I’m pretty sure she was just being petty and insecure, but still, those kinds of comments can stick with you, nagging, mocking any sense of self-worth, belittling even the smallest accomplishment.
So it feels good to be one of the winners of this competition, good to be reminded that we’re not defined by our inner voices or by the opinions of our teachers.
And here’s the best part: the World Alliance of Reformed Churches is flying me to Geneva to attend the official worship service celebrating John Calvin’s birth, and my wife, Anne, gets to come along. To be with my favorite person in my favorite city is about the best gift imaginable.
Who knew winning could be so much fun?
P.S. I don’t think I own the copyright for my sermon so I cannot publish it here, but you can download a copy from the Calvin Jubilee site.