Homiletics and Sermon writing

GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
edited May 2018 in Ecclesiantics
Especially for the experient clergy and theologians here, is there any Homiletics and Sermon writing/planning resources you appreciate? Could you share?

As I've said elsewhere, I'll be seeking ordination in the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Although I haven't started the process formally other than by enrolling in a BTh program, I've been helped by my Minister, who invited me to preach some sermons in the night services in order to help in my discerning process. The first one will be preached on May 27, but others will follow; I want to relay in some solid resources to produce meaningful Sermons.

Comments

  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    The last line I meant, I want to rely on some...
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Nope. You want to hear God speak to you and then find your own words to tell the message. But here is the best hint I ever got: if you can't say what your sermon is about, the core message, in one simple sentence, you have got more than one sermon going on.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    That doesn't mean you can learn nothing from books, but they can't make you a preacher.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Cathscats wrote: »
    Nope. You want to hear God speak to you and then find your own words to tell the message. But here is the best hint I ever got: if you can't say what your sermon is about, the core message, in one simple sentence, you have got more than one sermon going on.

    And if you can't deliver the sermon, at a good and sensible pace, in 10 minutes or under, you have got less than 1 sermon going on - you'll need to scrap what you've written and stat again so that you can finish in that time.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    Nope. You want to hear God speak to you and then find your own words to tell the message. But here is the best hint I ever got: if you can't say what your sermon is about, the core message, in one simple sentence, you have got more than one sermon going on.

    And if you can't deliver the sermon, at a good and sensible pace, in 10 minutes or under, you have got less than 1 sermon going on - you'll need to scrap what you've written and stat again so that you can finish in that time.
    Maybe, maybe not. As frequently said on the Ship, including on another thread just this weekend, this varies widely depending on culture and on what the congregation expects from the sermon. One 10-minute size simply does not fit all, especially if we're talking about global Christianity.

  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    Thanks for your contributions!
    NickTamen's comment makes sense to me: I was raised Lutheran and was Lutheran until short ago. In this tradition, especially in Brasil where there are strong ties with the EKD until nowadays, German Rationalism left a solid mark. Sermons expectations are high and there are some strict rules.
    In the hand, Brazilian Roman Catholics, in general, have terrible and unplanned sermons. Brazilian Episcopalians are midway.
    I agree the sermon must originate within the Spirit while I read the Scripture passage, but I cannot get satisfied with the idea of delivering a sermon that isn't well structured, rational and very clear. Theologically sophisticated, by one side, and crystal-clear for a lay audience, by the other.
    Sure it's my Lutheran, German upbringing and I need to connect with my audience to feel if they're heading the same direction,
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    One online source you might like is Working Preacher. There are also several facebook sites that offer illustrative examples for sermons. Something I learned, if you can tell one or two stories in your sermon (even a joke once in a while) people will remember the sermons better.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    Nope. You want to hear God speak to you and then find your own words to tell the message. But here is the best hint I ever got: if you can't say what your sermon is about, the core message, in one simple sentence, you have got more than one sermon going on.

    And if you can't deliver the sermon, at a good and sensible pace, in 10 minutes or under, you have got less than 1 sermon going on - you'll need to scrap what you've written and stat again so that you can finish in that time.
    Maybe, maybe not. As frequently said on the Ship, including on another thread just this weekend, this varies widely depending on culture and on what the congregation expects from the sermon. One 10-minute size simply does not fit all, especially if we're talking about global Christianity.

    I stick with it, though I appreciate that some traditions have sermons which go much longer.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    Nope. You want to hear God speak to you and then find your own words to tell the message. But here is the best hint I ever got: if you can't say what your sermon is about, the core message, in one simple sentence, you have got more than one sermon going on.

    And if you can't deliver the sermon, at a good and sensible pace, in 10 minutes or under, you have got less than 1 sermon going on - you'll need to scrap what you've written and stat again so that you can finish in that time.

    Nope

    I do creative writing and some novels cannot be written in 500 words.

    Jengie
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    It depends.
    A lot can be said in 5-7 minutes, and something is likely to be retained. Fine for a family service or a midweek communion.

    I was brought up in a church where a 50 minute sermon was fairly typical. I did not retain anything of them. However, another church I sometimes attended had a very scholarly, gifted expository preacher so that we listened spell- bound for 40-50 minutes. I learned much from him.

    Nowadays, a good sermon, delivered with scholarship, linking all three readings and having a strong message could take up to 20 minutes without being too long. That takes time to prepare, including study of the context, use of commentaries to understand the text, and inspiration to present a message for today, then more time and practice to ensure that delivery will be successful.
  • Going back to the OP, I too recommend Textweek/Working Preacher - and it has a Scripture index so you can look up passages even if you don't use the Lectionary. The British resource "Roots on the Web" can be useful too but you have to pay for that.
  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    If you’re preaching from the Rrevised Common Lectionary or a variant of it, don’t try and preach from all three readings. They don’t necessarily relate to each other, especially in ordinary time.

    Even where they do relate, the connection the compilers saw may not fit with the direction of your sermon - which must take account not only of the possibilities of your chosen text, but also the circumstances of your hearers.

    Also the typological (IIRC) approach to the OT taken by RCL (which informs their choice of OT passages related to the gospel readings) isn’t without its critics.
  • My practice is to read the passages from the RCL a few times, and there's usually something that sparks a point to preach on, usually from just one of the readings. It's that point where the different readings, often only minimally related, intersect with the congregation and local community. I've never preached to a church I've not also been attending, and I'm not sure how one finds that point of intersection without knowing the congregation you're preaching too - though, quite evidently many people succeed at that.

    Somehow or other, having found my point from one of the readings I do find that somehow or other something from the other readings drops into place. Rarely enough to qualify as preaching from all the texts, but maybe a part of a story to illustrate the point. Or, maybe it just feeds into the prayers or hymn selection, or the childrens address and activities. I'm actually quite impressed with the way the RCL provides for a lot of options when preaching, flexibility in how the passages can link together or illuminate various points. Which makes it possible to preach from the texts to a wide variety of contexts relevant for local congregations.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    I, too, like the Working Preacher site. It gives some very different insights into the same lectionary readings.

    In terms of sermon length, you probably have some kind of guide from what your night-time service people are used to. So it might be good to stick fairly closely to that to begin with. Unless the length really is ridiculously long or ridiculously short.

    I'm not suggesting you follow my habit; but it so happens I do a kind of sermon notes sheet for the congregation, covering a bit of the Bible study aspect, background, context etc, which I wouldn't have time for in a ten minute talk. And I might even reference briefly the readings I'm not basing the sermon on, if it makes sense. But what I've found since I've started this is, if I do the 'crib' sheet first - as part of my sermon prep during the week - and then move on to the sermon as the final stage, I've already begun to crystallise and focus on what the main message of the sermon could be about. The message emerges, hopefully, because I'm trying to condense the information for the crib sheet.

    So I agree with Alan Cresswell on this about having one good clear message. Best of luck!
  • I'm not an experienced preacher by any means, but as someone who has preached without formal training what I've found useful is to read the passages well in advance of when I'm going to start writing then give them chance to stew, calling them to mind over several days to a week, exploring ideas and connections, googling details and thinking and praying. Then when sitting down to write I see what flows naturally from that preparation. I'd also recommend focussing on the rhythm and tone of your writing when spoken aloud - remember that you're not writing an essay to be read but a sermon to be spoken.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    You can also do a lot if you do word studies of certain key words in a passage

    My routine has been to begin to study the passages on Monday, sometimes translating from the Koine or Hebrew. Tuesday I will go through several commentators. Wednesday I have a Bible Study with fellow pastors and even an evening study with members of the congregation--it is amazing what things they can come up with. Thursday I write it. Friday I will do some revision and then on Saturday evening I practice it aloud.

    Reminds me of a joke.

    A new minister was afraid he would mess up his sermons. His mentor told him what he should do is to study the passages through the first part of the week. Then write the sermon. Then reduce it to a paragraph. Then reduce it to a word. Remember the word and everything will come out fine.

    So the young minister did just that: He studied the lessons--made a detailed outline--wrote the sermon, reduced it to a paragraph, and reduced it to a word. He was prepared. But come Sunday, when he got up to preach, he just froze. He could not get anything out. The mentor asked him what happened. The young preacher replied he had forgotten the word.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    I start 6 weeks in advance. Remember to write SPOKEN, not written English.

  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Anselmina wrote: »
    I, too, like the Working Preacher site. It gives some very different insights into the same lectionary readings.
    I use that, if only to react 'I wouldn't do it like that.' Gets me thinking about how I WOULD do it.

  • I'm not an experienced preacher by any means, but as someone who has preached without formal training what I've found useful is to read the passages well in advance of when I'm going to start writing then give them chance to stew, calling them to mind over several days to a week, exploring ideas and connections, googling details and thinking and praying.
    Yes, I'm also a self-trained occasional preacher. I've requested no less than 6 weeks between when I'm on the rota - precisely because I need that time to let the texts sink in and mature in my mind and soul. Then see what comes out. What I've always done when preparing something spoken (whether a sermon or a conference presentation) is to write in short bullet points rather than paragraphs. For conferences those end up on Powerpoint slides, for sermons they get expanded into short sections which form the text of my sermon - printed out in full, but not read verbatim, rather letting me speak reasonably naturally while keeping me on track.
  • I wish I got 6 weeks notice of when I'm going to be leading worship. The 4 weeks I've been given of the next occasion is a positive luxury. Heck, when I know a week in advance I'm doing well. Finding out Friday evening that the person on pulpit supply can't get here and it's either I lead or there's no service was my introduction to preaching.
  • Mr SmiffMr Smiff Shipmate
    I'm a week-by-week preacher (mostly), but wish I was organised enough to follow Leo's example - it would make life a lot easier! I'm just not that organised...

    I'd echo the recommendations of the Textweek and Working Preacher website - they're my "go to" sites for online commentaries etc. I wouldn't want to recommend this or that paper commentary (although for a single volume commentary, I find the Oxford Bible Commentary really helpful). The book I've found most helpful is The Witness Of Preaching by Thomas Long; it's full of advice, guidance and wisdom for every stage of the sermon preparation process and deals with issues surrounding "what is preaching" and so on. There's a few videos of talks he's done about preaching and sermons he's preached on YouTube - they're well worth checking out (I'm not on commission for him - honest!). Anything by David Day I find very helpful as well.

    I think the most important thing is spending time with the Bible passage: commentaries are good and important, but at least part of your job in the pulpit is to be the bridge between the Bible passage and your congregation and the context in which you all find yourselves at the moment of preaching - and commentaries can't do that for you; they don't know the time and the place in which you're preaching and the people to whom you're preaching, only you know that. So before you go to the commentaries, you need to spend time examining, studying, exploring, questioning and critiquing the passage, making notes as you do. You might end up with more questions than answers (I often do), but I think that's OK: you might be asking the same questions that your congregation are asking, and that can only help build that bridge.

    In terms of length I would suggest that, particularly at first, going too far outside what the congregation is accustomed to will raise eyebrows (and yes, there may well be people who will be disappointed at too short a sermon): if that's 10 minutes, then make it 10 minutes, if it's 20, then aim for something around that. Strange as it might sound, it's a lot easier to write a longer sermon than a shorter one: the latter requires a really strong focus and a willingness to prune what you've prepared ruthlessly.

    And what Leo said about writing for the ear: if you're writing it out in full, then read it aloud either as you write it or afterwards; make sure it sounds reasonably natural.

    Sorry, that's quite a lot - I hope there's some wisdom in this! God bless you in your preaching!
  • I'd say that stepping in in an emergency is different - and very difficult - situation from preparing a service with adequate time. I admit that if I was called up on a Friday night to be told the preacher for Sunday couldn't make it I'd start by asking for the material already prepared for that service and probably preach the sermon already prepared with minimal revision to suit my style of speech. We (the Elders at my church) have prepared a contingency for maintaining worship in the event of the preacher not appearing at very late notice - for example due to poor weather (such as the recent "beast from the east"). Which would involve one of the Elders leading - using the hymns supplied to the organist in advance, prayers, readings and the shortest of sermons with open discussion. Remembering that the conditions likely to prevent the minister or other preacher to get to church would also prevent a large portion of the congregation from getting in as well, so it'll be an even smaller congregation than usual.
  • Getting notes wasn't an option as the visiting preacher had had to rush home following a break in... and none of the elders felt confident stepping up. You're very fortunate to have a congregation up for open discussion - the very suggestion here would have resulted in a deathly silence and much shuffling of feet!
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    A fairly simple thing, which no one has mentioned. It applies to all speaking whether religious or secular. Decide how you're going to end first. That should be in a way that leaves your hearers in no doubt what is the really key thing that you are saying. Then build the rest of your sermon, talk, speech, address or whatever so as to take your listeners there.
  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    I think one other thing is to try and approach the task with some sense that you yourself might encounter God through the scriptures in the process of preparation.

    ISTM that the idea that God might ‘speak’ through the preacher, implies that God might also speak to the preacher. I think the preacher’s hope or expectation that his might be the case has a positive effect on the sermon.
  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    Lots of good advice and thinks I'd never thought of before! Thank you, everyone. I don't have the time to answer all of you now, but I certainly will.
  • DormouseDormouse Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    I'm not ordained: I'm an LLM (Church of England)/ Worship Leader (Episcopal church)

    When I'm preparing a sermon, I use The Text this Week and The Church of Scotland site.
    My method of preparing is to read all three readings, and note what leaps out at me - which may be very eclectic, and unrelated. Then I read commentaries on the passages, and again make notes on anything that seems noteworthy. Then I go to these two sites and read various resources from them, making notes again - by now there is usually a thread that is appearing, even though lots of the notes may not apply to the theme that is standing out. I take this to be the route that God wants me to take, and I start crafting the sermon from that.
    Stories for Preaching may (but more frequently, may not) offer a story to start/finish with.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    Giancarlo wrote: »
    I was raised Lutheran and was Lutheran until short ago. In this tradition, especially in Brasil where there are strong ties with the EKD until nowadays, German Rationalism left a solid mark. Sermons expectations are high and there are some strict rules.
    This is my experience also.
  • Some of the best "sermons" I've ever heard in my life were Dom Erik Varden's meditations at daily mass each day at Mount St. Bernard's Abbey. Only a minute or two long but with more content than many much longer sermons. They were totally stripped of any of the filler or repetition most preachers seem to think necessary.

    Of course, one would expect him to have insight into the Christian faith: as a Trappist monk, he spends his life meditating on it. The Cambridge PhD in theology and pontifical doctorate in patristic studies don't hurt either. But he does go to show that longer is not necessarily better even when the preacher is good.

    Austin Ferrar's Paragraphs on the Blessed Sacrament, originally low mass homilies, also show the virtues of saying much in little. I believer Ferrar challenged himself to never use more words in his low mass homilies than were in the gospel for the day.
  • There is a lot to be said for not straying too far from the expectations of the congregation - in terms of length, the depth and rigour of academic input, the use of an "amusing" anecdote, whether the sermon is expected to lead to quiet reflective contemplation or exuberant praise, etc. That would include any "rules" arising from the denomination and society.

    There is also value in pushing those rules a little bit. If the expectation is for a sermon with no academic input, where you're told that any mention of Greek or Hebrew would result in the congregation switching off, try to insert a small amount of such information (that, for the record, would be where I am at present and I've found that despite being told that my congregation doesn't want an academic lecture that they do appreciate some input from the academic perspective). If the congregation in very evangelical, introduce something from a more liberal perspective, if liberal something from a more evangelical perspective, if modern in style introduce something more Orthodox etc - and, I've learnt a ton and a half about different perspectives from the Ship, with thanks to the hundreds of people who have introduced me to new things over the years.
  • FCBFCB Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    The Sunday Website from St. Louis University offers a variety of resources for preaching. Under the "Get to Know the Readings" section there is always a patristic text that deals with one of the readings. I typically will read some patristic commentary on one or more of the readings, not because I want to preach exactly like Augustine (his sermons are really looooong), but because the Fathers are very free in their imaginative engagement with the text--more so than many modern commentators--and this will often spark my own imagination.
  • PoppyPoppy Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Have a look at the Feasting on the Word series. You can download samples from Amazon on Kindle. You get all the passages for the week in the RCL and four different approaches to preaching them by four different authors. This has helped me identify the styles I prefer but for my congregations’ sanity I need to vary it as I preach every week. This book helps me write a solid exegetical sermon.

    As said above you need to have the aim of the sermon in one line. If you are going to preach without notes get the structure sorted first and it can help to have your main points on a post it note stuck in your Bible.
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Giancarlo: Hi

    If you want to get people interested in what you say, study the way Jesus preached, and what he preached. Nothing is so boring as long dusty academic sermons telling us what the Bible says. Jesus did not do that.

    Jesus told stories which hooked into his audience's daily experiences. They were interesting because each had a point to make, and made that point fairly quickly. They were interesting because they evoked images in the imaginations of his hearers. Visual images are memorable, as are sounds and smells. Long explanations of HOW the scripture must be properly understood are what the Pharisees did, and people hated them for it because they didn't live up to what they preached.

    Always be preaching to yourself as well, not just to others. Preach from what you have recently learned from scripture but use your own words and keep it interesting. Spend more time studying the parables of Jesus than the advice of the saints, such as Paul, Peter, John etc.

    Always leave the congregation with something to DO at the end of what you have spoken about and be 'ahead of them', in that you are already DOING it yourself.

    How you say something is at least as important as what you are saying, if not more so. Good content can never get across the gulf of bad delivery but good delivery should always have worthy content.

    And if people remember 1/5th of what you have said, and can explain back to you 1/10th of it you are doing well.

    Graciously accept both praise and criticism, learning from both.

    I would recommend for study, "Kingdom, Grace, Judgment" Paradox, outrage and vindication in the parables of Jesus, by Robert Farar Capon. ISBN 0-8028-3949-5 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

    And "A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers". William J Bausch 9 7818 5607 2380 Columba Press.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Another online source I have used is the Lutheran Church in Australia Worship Planning site.

    It offers prayers of the day, suggested hymns, traditional or modern, It also has links to suggested sermons (you can definitely get a Australian flavor in the sermons). I used them as thought starters. And it also has a link to some photographic images that can be used if you like to project things.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Mr Smiff wrote: »
    I'm a week-by-week preacher (mostly), but wish I was organised enough to follow Leo's example - it would make life a lot easier! I'm just not that organised...

    Our presiding and preaching rotas are done quarterly.

    I used to tell my pupils to read all the exam questions before starting to write – the subconscious works in the meantime.

    If I draft a sermon 6 weeks in advance, thoughts pop up and events happen that make me alter stuff.

    During the final week, I read a sermon aloud every day and make drastic pruning.
  • Joan RaschJoan Rasch Shipmate
    For the co-rectors of a parish I was in, one of the most important parts of their preparation was doing group bible study - once a week with a parish group, and another with a group of colleagues.
    A Cyclist on the information bikepath
    AKA Fafnir the Thurifer
  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    So many great resources and tips, thank you all!
    This night I had a nightmare where I realized my first sermon, the one to be preached the 27, lacks the correct exegesis. Terrible!
    Then I came here and felt better :smile: that's been a busy week, but I promise I'll answer everyone and comment on the weekend.
    That's like Aladdin's movie, a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view :smiley:
  • SpongSpong Shipmate
    [Back after long shore leave, seem to have lost my avatar along the way. Shiny new Ship!]

    For a while my sermons almost all followed Eugene Lowry’s Homiletical Plot: start by going along a well-trodden path, then disrupt your listeners’ expectations by showing that doesn’t work, dig the hole as deep as you can without being unable to get out of it, then climb back out of it.

    It works well, particularly with a comfortable congregation that needs a bit of afflicting, though I probably got a bit too mechanical about it, and don’t tend to plot in quite the same way any more. But I’m a strong believer in a narrative arc to any sermon. Anything by David Day is also very good.

    Not sure I spot the signals when they’re not listening, but on the occasions when they really get it there is no mistaking the stillness and attention coming your way.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Welcome back.

    If it's any help, I got my old avatar back by going to my old entry in the directory for the old boards, copying the avatar from it, and then pasting it into my directory on the new boards. It worked then, but I don't know whether it still does.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    Giancarlo: Hi

    If you want to get people interested in what you say, study the way Jesus preached, and what he preached. Nothing is so boring as long dusty academic sermons telling us what the Bible says. Jesus did not do that.

    Lots of good advice in this and other posts! Will be useful.

    The only qualification to the quote above, however, is that while Jesus in a lot of his teaching didn't do the 'I take as my text for today' approach; we do tend to use his parables and teaching as our texts. So we're commenting on what were original little parabolic tales which might have been relatively new, even if using familiar images and concepts (eg, vineyards, banquets, inheritance etc). So if we want to highlight what might be learnt from Jesus's teaching or life, we do have to create this other layer.

    Jesus applied his experience of the Father directly to his knowledge of Hebrew scripture and Judaic mores; which resulted in his creation of all those original stories. But we're commentators on those original stories, which is maybe where the real challenge is for us.
  • SpongSpong Shipmate
    Enoch, yes it worked, thank you!
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Pleased to be of service.
  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    I applied all the advice you gave and rewrote my first sermon. I'd say I changed 40% of it and I'm much more satisfied with the final form now.
    I'll deliver it on May 27 and I'd much appreciate your prayers.
    I've bought Robert F. Capon book and also liked the Working Preacher website a lot. I'm walking in the direction of writing the second one, inspired by Walter Bruggemann's Faith with a Price but adapted to Brazilian context. It's clear now how to organize references, "brew" them and create the sermon. Looked like a hermetic process before, not it's feasible. Many thanks!
  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    LeRoc wrote: »
    Giancarlo wrote: »
    I was raised Lutheran and was Lutheran until short ago. In this tradition, especially in Brasil where there are strong ties with the EKD until nowadays, German Rationalism left a solid mark. Sermons expectations are high and there are some strict rules.
    This is my experience also.

    Are you from Brazil as well, @LeRoc ?
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    Giancarlo wrote: »
    Are you from Brazil as well, @LeRoc ?
    Yes I live in Brazil, and I'm familiar with Lutheran preaching.
  • GiancarloGiancarlo Shipmate
    Nice, neighbor :smile:
  • BabyWombatBabyWombat Shipmate
    On a lighter note: Years ago I was in the room when a monastic postulant, scheduled to preach soon, asked the Novice Master a similar question. NM’s reasoned response was “Preach the sermon you need to hear”……. And added after a rather solemn silence “because that way at least one damn fool has heard something useful”. It has guided me now for many years.
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    Anselmina wrote: »
    RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    Giancarlo: Hi

    If you want to get people interested in what you say, study the way Jesus preached, and what he preached. Nothing is so boring as long dusty academic sermons telling us what the Bible says. Jesus did not do that.

    Jesus applied his experience of the Father directly to his knowledge of Hebrew scripture and Judaic mores; which resulted in his creation of all those original stories. But we're commentators on those original stories, which is maybe where the real challenge is for us.

    Nothing to stop us understanding Jesus' message and thought forms, then making stories of our own which illustrate the same underlying truths, but in modern terms, though. I'm aware though that it would take some care and good theological insight to do this.

    The one thing that Jesus did that we can't do though is say "You have heard it said of old . . . ." BUT I tell you . . . . ." and then contradict or add to scripture in the way Jesus did.

    We don't have the qualifications or the authority. :wink:

  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    On a lighter note: Years ago I was in the room when a monastic postulant, scheduled to preach soon, asked the Novice Master a similar question. NM’s reasoned response was “Preach the sermon you need to hear”……. And added after a rather solemn silence “because that way at least one damn fool has heard something useful”. It has guided me now for many years.

    When I was a teenager that was advice one of my favourite preachers followed.

  • I can't think of any way to approach a text that isn't some variety of "what's this saying to me?", that can then be worked into what message would be most appropriate for the congregation. Of course, even though I'm standing up front doesn't mean I'm not part of the congregation so the message is for me as well as the rest of the congregation sat in front of me.
Sign In or Register to comment.