A few years ago I read a Peter Gomes book of sermons. The book included 40 sermons from the academic year of Memorial Church. Strangely enough when I counted how many sermons I do a year it came out to around 40. Take 52 Sundays, then minus 5 for vacation, then 4 from quarterly hymn sings and about three for special days (anniversaries, children's sunday, etc.) and you come up with 40.
This morning was a Lenten Preparation time, we learned 2 new hymns and four new responses: a Gloria, a Kyrie, Prayer Response and Doxology. Then we I took 10 requests from the congregation of hymns. I can pretty much predict which ones will be picked, Amazing Grace, I Come to the Garden Alone, I'll Fly Awy, etc.
The hymn sing gives me and the congregation a break from each other. I used the previous week to prepare for the sermon series and attend to some much needed office arranging. But and this is crucial, as folk greeted me after the service many noted what a sly way it was for me to get out of a sermon with a hymn sing. One dude had the audacity to say that I didn't have a sermon so I said "hymn sing." This crowd is smarter than you think!!