Monday, September 28, 2015
This morning, during my quiet time, my time of reading and
reflecting, of thinking and writing, I found myself suddenly
thinking about how a congregation- my congregation or yours-
views the sermon...and about how I, as the one preaching, view
what it is I am doing- and why. Perhaps I am unique in the fact
that this is not something to which I have given a great deal of
thought and consideration. I don't mean that I don't give thought
to what I'm preaching or to how it will be received. But I'm not
sure if I have ever put into words what a sermon really is for me-
and what I hope it is for the congregation. But this morning,
words came flooding unbidden, and so I share them with you, from
the bottom of my heart:
For me, the sermon is not to point the finger.
It is rather an invitation to the members of the congregation
to enter into dialogue, to walk along with, to uplift and
encourage the pastor even as s/he lifts up and encourages them.
It is a frail, sinful human creature speaking words s/he needs
to hear and laying them out for everyone to see.
It is the deep acknowledgement of our shared humanity and
our shared need for connection and compassion.
It is not me saying to you that I know more, understand more,
am more- more spiritual, more Godly, more anything- except,
perhaps, somewhat more aware of my faults and foibles and
It is simply me saying to you, "Here I am and here you are.
Can we perhaps build a bridge of understanding between us?
Can we journey a way on this often-difficult, mostly-confusing
road of life together- perhaps holding one another up, supporting
one another when the going gets rough?
A sermon lays the preacher bare and wrings from him or her
every ounce of energy, strength, honesty, and truth- (which
is perhaps why so many pastors nap on Sunday afternoons.)