Monday, 28 December 2009

What shall I say in my sermon?

I said in an earlier post that I would describe some of the things that I do as a curate. One of the more obvious of these is writing sermons. However, of all the things I could say in ten minutes on a Sunday morning, what would be the best?

There are people there of different ages, different experiences, different cultures, some who have been on the Christian journey for much longer than me and others who have only just become interested. How can anything be meaningful to everyone?

I have only one rule, and that is that my sermon should move me on my spiritual journey, and in so doing it might help others. I have a metaphor, which is the labyrinth (see video below from the Living Faith DVD). The labyrinth is a method of prayer by which you walk prayerfully into the centre and then walk out. This is done alongside others and although they might be on a different part of the journey, for a while you may walk shoulder to shoulder with them. The prayerfulness of others helps me with my attentiveness to God and it becomes a corporate activity, although the journey is my own and can be lonely at times.

I feel the same about my sermons, if they are causing me to move spiritually, to engender deeper prayerfulness and connection with God, then I hope that will add to the corporate experience of journeying.
Hence, when I come to write a sermon, I read the passage and ask myself what the hardest question is for me, where the point of greatest challenge or confusion is for me, and then wrestle with Bible commentaries, go for a walk and try to work out what I believe, talk to people, pray. Often I don't answer the question, but I find that in the course of wrestling I will have found stories, parables, jokes and ideas to share. I'd love some comments on this one to say what people would find more helpful :)

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