February 12 Bulletin Image.jpg

When many people think of church, they think of sermons. When many people think of churches that they have attended, they think of sermons that they have heard. What a sermon functionally is, though, differs from church to church. For some, the sermon is an extended set of anecdotal stories marginally related to the Christian theme. For others, it may be a series of scolding claims about how nobody is as good as they used to be. Others may be about how everyone is going to hell unless you follow these three simple rules. 

In secular society, the TED talk has virtually replaced the sermon. As my brother has pointed out to me, a TED talk basically is a sermon, a preachers basically have to do one once a week. As I mentioned in my sermon on Proclamation, there are many different styles of preaching. For all of these parts of the liturgy, this is the least likely to be confusing to people walking into the building. Few people enter a church and think to themselves, "Why is this person going on and on about the bible?" 

Some people think all preaching needs to be relatable. Others think all preaching needs to be much more bible based. Some people think sermons need to be relevant for today while others think sermons need to point a future hope.

I am not an expert on preaching or sermons. But I do know they should not be boring. Because if a sermon is boring, you know for sure that Jesus Christ is not being proclaimed as Lord. We often bring so much of our own baggage that we cannot even hear what is being said. Frederick Buechner puts it far better than me. 

WHEN A MINISTER reads out of the Bible, I am sure that at least nine times out of ten the people who happen to be listening at all hear not what is really being read but only what they expect to hear read. And I think that what most people expect to hear read from the Bible is an edifying story, an uplifting thought, a moral lesson, something elevating, obvious, and boring. So that is exactly what very often they do hear. Only that is too bad because if you really listen—and maybe you have to forget that it is the Bible being read and a minister who is reading it—there is no telling what you might hear.