Monday, December 26, 2011

Definition of preaching

I have heard the cliché about sermons... “your life may be the only one someone ever hears.”
Sometimes at Church sermons fade one into another, they make a long term impact, may lift us up for one week or further our understanding, and sometimes I struggle from one week to the next to remember what was said.

One stands out to me this year however, and it was just supposed to be an introduction to a sermon.
The senior pastor at a Church I was visiting in the US was walking on stage to introduce the famous, distinguished, successful guest speaker, and went from stage right to stage left apparently searching for the appropriate microphone.

As he went from one side of the stage to the other, taking only a few seconds, someone in the vast sea of people yelled out “Are you lost?!” His intent...not sure, seemed an oddly irreverent and slightly disrespectful thing to say, but I do not know his state of mind, but it sounded playfully derisive.

As I reeled from someone shouting something like that out, the pastor, still walking on stage right, and with the slight laughter from the crowd dying down after a second or two, said...

“No...Jesus found me a long time ago. So, no...I’m not lost.”

You probably had to be there...but the sincerity of his reply to the jab struck me. It seemed genuine that was the first thing that came to his mind to the question...and so that is what he answered.
He went on with his introduction, and a powerful, charismatic, emotional sermon full with pictures that pulled at heart strings followed. I remember...but I remember that first sentence sermon even more clearly.

That I continue to remember this with great clarity almost two months later reminds me of an important lesson: what we prepare to say, what we have memorized sometimes sounds as such. How we react to the minutia of life, who we are in those moments are the sermons that impact for more than just a short time...and sometimes one minute or a few seconds of our life can stay with someone for years, their entire life.

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