The sermon, it’s this ancient art form that was used to inspire, draw in, and make way for people to better understand their connection with the Divine. It’s been about sharing the death and resurrection mystery of Christ. But it’s been hijacked by egotistical men and women who believe they are the way to God, instead of opening an invitation for people to seek, experience, and accept God for themselves- no terms and conditions needed.
For others, the sermon is like an app that tells you exactly what you want to hear, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. And when the sermon, or the messenger, doesn’t do for you what you want, you are quick to delete the app and leave the gathering.
Furthermore, the sermon has been damaged by way too many judgmental audiences, who, instead of making notes of inspiration, picks up the errors, or what could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve been said better. All the while glancing at their watches to make sure the messenger don’t mess with their couch-potato time.
Jesus’ first sermon, in the Gospel of Luke, was so provocative that He was almost thrown off a cliff; Peter’s first sermon brought 3000 people to their knees; Paul’s sermon was so long and boring, someone fell out a window and died (and was resurrected again, of course).
Few other “stage performance”/ art form gets judge as harshly, as often, and as technical as the sermon, and yet, people show up to hear it, again and again.
Because of obligation?
Wanting to check a box?
Because you’re genuinely interested in this ancient art form and what it can offer you?
And what’s so exciting is that the sermon is just words: spoken, sung, or on a fresh PowerPoint. But with words is also how God created the universe. God spoke a sermon out over the universe, and it came to be the beauty we know it.
So, regardless of your view of the sermon, it is here to stay. And maybe next time, instead of giving a “that was nice. Good job” to the messenger, go out and put action to the spoken word of the sermon, the way God spoke and the universe became.
One thing I do know is that this ancient art form- judged, hijacked, taken apart, mocked- is what I’ve chosen to do with my life. And I will continue to do so, God-willing, no matter your view of it.
Grace + Peace.