In this time of our church history, when going to a service is no longer a societal expectation and people don’t necessarily make business connections in the pews, preaching has become more important. We’re working against the general inertia that keeps people in their sheets and reading the newspaper on Sunday morning.
I am a longtime fan of public radio. It began years ago with Garrison Keillor, whose weekly monologues on Lake Wobegon became a regular feature of my Saturday evenings. With my transistor radio perched on my kitchen windowsill, I would put supper together during the first hour of the show.
Several years ago Carly Simon recorded a CD titled “Letters Never Sent.” The songs reflect a collection of letters she wrote over the years but never sent to the intended recipients. In an interview, Simon said that she keeps a shoebox on a closet shelf to hold these letters. She finds writing them therapeutic, a way to keep frustrations from bottling up inside her.
A couple of months ago in the Century, Thomas G. Long discussed temptations faced by anxious preachers who must preach week after week, sometimes for several services each Sunday. “What can I say this time?” is the angst-filled question of many of us. In an earlier day one could find Harry Emerson Fosdick’s sermons collected in his books, and Ernest T.
One of the paradoxes of Jesus as he is portrayed in the Gospels is his way of combining candor with reticence. As understandably concerned as we are with what Jesus said, it is striking to consider all that he did not say, along with the many times when he spoke by indirection. “He did not speak to them except in parables.” “He answered her not a word.”
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