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The How & Why of Our Sermons

January 25, 2015

One more day with the brilliance of Phillips Brooks (if you’re clueless, see the previous 2 days here).

First, I initially heard his name years ago in connection with his famous line that preaching is God’s truth through personality. 

Does that resonate, or what?!  Kinda like The Unity Candle at weddings: it always worries me when the couple wants to huff and puff and blow their own candles out…marriage doesn’t mean that you’re being extinguished, but that together there’s something new catching flame…your own candle’s flame is not diminished by sharing, but something new and better comes into being.

“It takes two,” an old saying goes.  For weddings and marriage, I’d alter that to read “It takes three: God, you and me.”

Within the context of sermons, given Phillips Brooks’ classic line preaching is God’s truth through personality. “It takes two: God and you.”

God works through the preacher in fresh ways and something new bursts into flame through her or him.  That’s how sermons work.

Secondly, Brooks balanced that by pointing out that sermons aren’t art, but communication meant to save souls.  As a well-seasoned saint said, “It ain’t about you, Preacher.”  Christ is why we preach.

Wherever you worship this weekend, may those two things be true.

And if you’re a preaching/teaching/group-leading colleague this weekend, again, may those two things be true.

May God’s truth shine through us, and may the message not draw attention to itself or the messenger but to Christ, the One it’s all about.

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