|I returned just a couple of weeks ago from a preaching conference in Minneapolis. It’s an annual event geared to support and encourage those of us who are in the parish, preaching week in and week out. Every day, about 1500 of us were able to hear at least a couple of sermons preached by people who teach preaching or who serve in well-known settings. What was particularly delightful was that they preached to us as preachers – they encouraged and supported, they challenged and comforted us. They reminded us of our calling to preach the good news all the while showering us with the good news.|
I sat with long-time friends from other parts of the country and we sang and prayed and clapped and listened together. Here are a couple of things about preaching that I came away with: good preaching really does come out of a dialogue—not only with the biblical text, but with colleagues who are also wrestling with the texts. It’s easy to sit in our offices by ourselves and believe it’s all up to us each week (not discounting the Spirit of course). But, the ongoing creative stuff really does come out of conversations with others who are also wrestling with the assigned texts from a different angle. I already have conversations with colleagues as part of my sermon preparation. I’d like to start having conversations with you about the assigned texts each week. Keep your eyes open for an announcement about the beginning of weekly study time together.
The Good News of Jesus is not just a ‘you and me Jesus’ word, it is a word for us as we live in the world among a whole variety of people and a range of circumstances. Therefore, it is always a word that addresses the events of the day. Some people may think this will lead to preaching that is too political. But there’s no way the Good News that doesn’t have something to say about how we relate to the stranger, the outcast, all those who are vulnerable in this time and place. Jesus never shied away from speaking to the issues of his day. We who preach about Jesus and his way are called to do the same. That of course does not mean that we endorse candidates. But we do call for leaders to have an eye on the vulnerable in the country and around the world. As part of our weekly study together, we’ll talk about how this gets addressed in my sermons.
Thank you for continuing to support my time at events like this preaching conference. It was wonderfully renewing!