Warning: This post is not for everyone. It contains a link to a sermon. Our team is busy devising an email list so that, in future, such things will be available as an option only to those who subscribe to the list. But, for now, for this one occasion, a link to the sermon engaging Psalm 30 and preached April 10, 2016 at Oak Bay United Church in Victoria can be found here.
Generally I am not a fan of posting sermons. My reluctance is not because of some false modesty but simply because a sermon is an oral art form that does not translate well to print. Those who initially experience a sermon are inevitably disappointed when presented with the text.
The closest analogy I can come up with is that it is like publishing the score to a piece of jazz music, except preachers do not have a universally accepted notation that indicates the key of a sermon, its chord progression, pacing, intensity and rhythm. All of those are integral to the delivery of any sermon.
Secondly a sermon is not designed to be a stand alone piece. It is part of the fabric of worship and other players and parts profoundly impact its reception. Music, children’s time, prayers, the reading of Scripture, physical and visual context – all impact the power of a sermon.
On the occasion of this sermon I was privileged to play as part of an accomplished ensemble of Gordon Miller, Gaye Sharpe, and Tressa Brotsky in a beautiful sanctuary designed for one particular style of worship.
The impact of a sermon depends upon several emotional and spiritual factors. The state of the preacher – if the last words a preacher utters upon leaving the house are “we’ll talk about this when I get home” their emotional state will be much different than one who exits with a focused mind and heart.
Similarly if the congregation knows the preacher they are much more able to appreciate the nuances. They will not wonder whether a section was humorous or a mistake. The degree to which their hearts are open cannot be overstated.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the sermon is, in the end, raw material for the Spirit. And God has proved notoriously difficult to schedule. Sermons that bubbled with life transforming zest in one context can taste like carbonated water gone flat in another setting.
With all these caveats, the score to the sermon engaging Psalm 30 and preached April 10, 2016 andt Oak Bay United Church in Victoria can be found here.
And if you want to listen instead of read the audio file is here.