Being Present in Our Preaching

A Peculiar Prophet

“You were really present to us in your sermon today, preacher,” he said on

his way out of church last Sunday. What did he mean by that? Are there

Sundays when I am absent?

I suppose that his remark was an affirmation that this sermon really

seemed to mean something to me. I was “there” in a way that was noticeable

and engaging. Perhaps that is not a bad distinction between a sermon

and a lecture. A lecture is usually a rather “cool” presentation. A few ideas

are put out on the table for reflection, consideration, and possible adoption.

The ideas may mean something to the lecturer or they may not.

On the other hand, in a sermon, there is the expectation that the

preacher will be “present.” The moves made within the sermon must not

simply be general ideas that may or may not have any relevance to the

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