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Read Sermons!

July 27, 2016

I just finished reading a small volume of sermons collected and published from the Episcopalian tradition. It was titled,SERMONS THAT WORK III (Forward Movement Publications, 1993). The book consists of prize winning sermons that had been delivered in local congregations across the country and addresses delivered at the Preaching Excellence Conference which included sessions from academic professors of preaching as well. I enjoyed the different flavor of the sermons and there was never a “temptation” to borrow a sermon because they were structured from the lexionary and not in the expositional family of sermon preparation that is a part of my sermonic practice. But with that said the majority of the sermons had something new I could think about and take away to reflect upon and even apply in my walk with Christ on the pilgrimage of faith. As is often true the sermons were uneven with the gospel messages stronger than the doctrinal ones especially the ones focused on the “Trinity” but there was still something of value. This brings me to the “take away” for me= I need to set up a schedule to be consistently reading sermons through the end of 2016 and into 2017. I want to read some classics like those of C.H. Spurgeon and Luther but I am also going to seek out lesser known collections from various periods of history and various traditions for both the good of my soul and spice for my personal sermon preparation. I invite you to join me and not only listen to sermons but read them as well. My favorite quote in the book worth sharing was from Dr, Herold Cook Philips who delivered the Lyman Beecher lectures on preaching who was asked by a young star struck student what he was going to preach during his ivy league chapel sermon at Yale. “Charlie boy”, he answered “If you are going to be a preacher, you have to remember that people every where are just people” (p.122)Amen!!

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