Sunday, August 22, 2010

Repeat After Me

Only preach one sermon at a time. Never preach two sermons at one sitting. Repeat after me ...

Why state this? I think a temptation in preaching to the lectionary is to preach a sermon on two or more of the readings. The challenge is to preach one sermon only. That is, to preach a sermon which majors on one reading and minors on the others; or a sermon which follows a single theme through the readings; or a sermon which combines the three readings together in one, single, pertinent message.

It is possible to preach two or more sermons within the one period of the service called, 'the sermon.' That, I suggest, is a big mistake. No matter how brilliant each of the sermons is, together they will undermine the persuasive effect of each.

Only preach one sermon at a time. Repeat after me.


Anonymous said...

I agree fully but at the Eucharist I expect the sermon (homily) to on the Gospel with minor references to the other 2 readings.

Barry Smithson

liturgy said...

How much training is done in the use of the lectionary? Once you couldn't be ordained here without passing an examination on the calendar and lectionary. Now, alongside the lectionary, with readings that are chosen consciously not having any themed connection with each other, General Synod regularly adds to its list of "special Sundays" which, of course, get added into the many mini sermons you are writing about.



Peter Carrell said...

I will be offering that training right after I have mastered the ever-changing lectionary :)

I suspect, seriously, that even with good training in the lectionary and calendar, preachers in the process of preparing can make strategic mistakes about the direction their sermon will head in.