Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

May 24, 2008

Was It a Sermon?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:51 pm

There is a difference between a recitation and a speech; there is an indescribable difference between that which we recite from our memory and that which God creates for us in our heart and enables us to hurl from our lip with ringing and gracious power.

I think the above quote sort of gets at the basic problem I had with my "sermon". There is a great big caution that must be slapped on the quote, however. What is not in view here is the idea of just getting in the pulpit and letting fly with what is on one’s heart. That won’t do. That won’t work because our hearts are in fact black with sin. Nothing good can come from winging it with what is on our hearts.

What is in view for me at least is the challenge of getting over the bridge that brings the preacher from merely regurgitating the prepared understanding of the text to actually delivering the truth to the people of God that takes the people out of the classroom into God presence. Means of grace, not means of information, in other words.

The seminary has a policy of disallowing students to read their sermons in the class "dry runs". Their rationale for this policy is quite good. They need the experience of delivering a sermon in order to develop skill in rhetoric so as to eliminate glaring problems that invariably surface when preaching with out a written script.

This does not preclude the practice of reading a written sermon when the candidate actually becomes ordained. So, the question becomes is it possible to read a written sermon and bridge the gap from information to grace? The answer is that, of course, it is possible.

There is no question that one can come across as a teacher even though not reading a script. It equally certain that one can preach (provide the means of grace) even though the preacher is reading from a script. I certainly came across as a lecturer in my sermon. Were I given a second chance on my sermon, I believe I could take some good steps in the right direction, since I can so easily see where I went wrong.

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5 Comments »

  1. Good point.

    Comment by Standing Solus Christus — May 24, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

  2. I think they should just let us use a manuscript.

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — May 24, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

  3. If somebody is boring, they will be boring with or without notes. I’ve had to sit through many a terrible sermon in my lifetime and I would love to have that time back. Bruce, you have always been a good communicator; I doubt that your sermons would be dry or boring. — Sing over the pulpit should read: “If you don’t strike oil in 20 minutes, stop boring.”

    Comment by Albino Hayford — May 26, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  4. “Sign” – spelling

    Comment by Albino Hayford — May 26, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

  5. Albino,

    I don’t think being “boring” is the issue….

    S2C

    Comment by Standing Solus Christus — May 29, 2008 @ 8:48 pm


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