'The Moment of the Upturned Face'

Roger Ellsworth speaks of what he calls the "moment of the upturned face" in his chapter of Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, entitled "Preach the Word."

He describes it as the following:

This is what I call 'the moment of the upturned face.' I noticed it each time I take my place at my pulpit--that wonderful and awful moment when the people look up at me with anticipation. It is wonderful because the people are telling me that they are ready to listen to God's message for the hour. It is awful because it makes me conscious of my enormous responsibility.

There toward the back is the face of that one who often attends but does not yet know Christ and , immediately in front of him, the face of that one who is grieving over the loss of a loved one. Over there is the face of that teenager who is trying to determine what really matters. Halfway back on my right is the face of that person who has never been to church before but has come just this one time to see what it is all about. And there in front is that faithful member who is trying to find strength to go on.

All week long these people have heard what the myriad voices of our society have to say. Now they have come to church to find out what God says. I stand there with them looking at me and I tremble as I realize that I stand between heaven and earth. I breathe a prayer for God to help me and I begin. With God's help, the sermon takes life and those faces continue to be upturned. Some begin to nod in agreement and some begin to shine. And, as I leave my pulpit, I am aware that this was God's message and His moment. I know these people have heard from heaven, and I thank God that He made me a preacher.

Thank you, Lord.

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