The sermon event (with a Prelude and Postlude)

PRELUDE
Have you ever written something; thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and then lost it in the blink of an eye?  Well…that happened to me late this morning.  I was working on this particular post and thought I had something pretty good.  I went to hit save and the next thing I knew I was being transported back the the Typepad home screen faster than a Star Trek beam-out.  And in what seemed like a freak transporter accident, the "molecules" of my brilliantly written post were scattered throughout the vastness of cyberspace.  But before anyone starts getting theological on me and say that this was God's way of saying that I was not suppose to write that post…I had already considered that and discarded that reasoning.  I just haven't figured out what I am chalking this unfortunate incident up to yet.  But I got a feeling it will come back to some message from God.

Now on to something I hope you really like…
The real reason I wanted to offer my not-so-called writing talents was to say something about the sermon event as I see it.

Back in 2006 I started posting my sermons on a separate blog over at Blogger.com.  I thought for some reason that people might enjoy reading these and even enter into a discussion about them.  But a few weeks ago I discontinued this practice.  I did have a few people comment on these sermons, but it was not for the lack of comments that I quit posting them.  I came to the conclusion that I was not being authentic in those sermons.  People were not really getting the sermon that was preached.

For me…the sermon event is more than a bunch of words/notes on a piece of paper.  The sermon event involves (very intimately) the one preaching the sermon; something that is very difficult to see, feel and experience though a bunch of words.  I do not doubt that people get something out of written sermons read after the sermon event.  I have read other people's sermons and have learned a lot about my relationship with Christ.  I have read a number of Luther's sermons and have found them very useful.  But I believe that actually being there; to hear and experience the sermon would produce something different than some printed words ("Faith comes by hearing").

Don't get me wrong…I am not claiming to be some brilliant sermon deliverer.  I am not claiming that people's lives are transformed each and every week because of words that I have written.  But what I am claiming is that in each sermon is a piece of me.  People get to see my faith being worn on my sleeve.  There are times when the written word on my piece of paper is not what is spoken.  There have been times when I felt I did not explain a point well enough so I added more words.  There have been times when the Holy Spirit captured me and totally lead me away from my written words.  More times than not, the words I posted on-line where not the exact same words I preached.

And don't get me wrong in this respect…I am not criticizing those who post sermons on-line.  Like I said, I have read many sermons that I thoroughly enjoyed.  But for me…the sermon event is the main thing.  I don't want Salem members to think they can get the same thing out of the sermon by reading it as opposed to experiencing it.  I want people there…in worship…to experience the power of the Holy Spirit through the SPOKEN word.  Once again…"Faith comes by hearing".  But if people call in a request a copy of one the sermons I preached…I will provide them with one (but maybe I should print the above "disclaimer" on it).

So there you have it…my faith on my sleeve through a bunch of words written on a computer screen.  Seems kind of hypocritical considering what I just wrote.  So…if you want to experience this post in a different way, stop by my office sometime and I just might read this to you.

POSTLUDE
I have determined what I am chalking up my "freak blog post transporter accident" up to.  You see…there is this pesky little button on the bottom of my page…right next the the "SAVE" button that says, "DELETE POST".  Need I say more 🙂

-edh-

4 thoughts on “The sermon event (with a Prelude and Postlude)

  1. I have been struggling with this lately. On the one hand, there is a congregation member who has been worshipping in another state temporarily, and she enjoys my sermons on-line. On the other hand, I think the same as you do: it’s not the same as being there, and I don’t want to give that impressions. So off and on I consider that I won’t post them again. So far, posting has won out. but we’ll see.

    Then there is the consideration of preaching from notes more often…

  2. On the page it is a good story, proclaimed it is speaking God. While I do not think I am God-like, I, like you have been moved to change or add in the midst, and usually that change is spontaneous and “makes” the sermon in some way- by the power of the Spirit. I really enjoyed this post, and when I have preached and some one likes what I had to say, I say thanks but I can only preach what God gives me. However, God has not given me the secret to Un-DELETE POST. ;)Your blog is on my list of CPE decompression- thanks for it!

  3. 🙂 Thanks for the comment. I am always amazed when those Spirit moments happen in the midst of preaching. Thanks be to God.

    Good luck with CPE. I had a great experience on my CPE; learning a lot about myself.

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