Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Preaching in a Liturgical Setting
I went to an Episcopalian church service last Sunday (for a paper I'm writing). Overall, I enjoyed it. Something that stuck out to me was how different it is when the preacher preaches after the readings rather than reading the scriptures as a part of the sermon. There is something strange about having already read the passage and put it away. The preacher cannot say, "Look with me at verse four," because it is past that time in the service for having the Bible out. Something about it seems to undermine its very purpose. Instead of going to the Bible for the message, we are attempting to remember what we read. The whole purpose of expository preaching (as its proponents often argue) is to make sure the message of the sermon flows from the biblical text itself rather than being imposed upon the text. But the message is blunted when the text is not in front of the congregation during the preaching.