By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Sermons Behaving Badly

This week I am struggling to wrestle my sermon into submission!  I know the things I want to share but each time I try to turn the thoughts into words they gum up and what emerges from my typing is unsatisfying.  Yesterday, which was 'officially' renamed Monday because Monday had acted as Tuesday, I found the reasons beginning to clarify in my mind - the subject matter (worship, or more specifically 'being worshippers') is one that is at once so obvious that we shouldn't need to talk about it, so complicated that we can always spend time usefully reflecting upon it and so contentious that talking about it is dangerous.  So now, finally, I have the openning for what I want to say, can name and move on from the unhelpful things fairly swiftly and move on to the ideas I want to explore, which I am linking with parts of Deuteronomy 6 and Acts 2.  I suspect that when my sermons behave badly it is because I need to think a bit harder, to wrestle a little more rather than settle for something that is easy to write and so falls short of what honours God... which is suitably ironic in a sermon on worship, the very act of saying to God 'you're worth it.'

Anyway, time is against me, so write it I must.


  • Hmmm. That's just sparked off a train of thought about the strap line 'Because you're worth it!'. As a cosmetics advert that's in complex territory, which I'll skate over quickly, but put simply Trinny and Susannah (peace be upon them) would say people need to feel good about themselves. God obviously doesn't need to be made to feel good about God, so is worship for us or for God? Ultimately I guess it's about both relationship and recognition of truth that lies beyond us, so on both counts worship is a reaching out beyond ourselves. But that's all just flowed far too easily off my keyboard...
    Stream of consciousness over!

  • So Andy - what did you think of last night's 'worship' (wednesday in case you read this another day!) - who was it all for and who were we clapping, even after the blessing?

  • Hi Julie. I didn't realise the secret shopper was in the congregation! You can't go anywhere without being recognised can you?

    Honestly, I had mixed feelings about my own participation and motives. Some of the music and words led me to a greater appreciation of God and that was great. Other bits I have to shrug and try to stay focused. I tend not to join in the rounds of applause, as for me it's too much like the time a Songs of Praise producer asked the congregation to break into 'a spontaneous round of applause' after the last verse... Many others are genuinely offering praise when asked to applaud. I'm just left feeling bolshy about being told how to do it and hoping nobody else minds me not joining in.

    God delights in our praise. And God is worth our highest praise, which is why I want what I do to be the genuine article from me and am disappointed when it isn't. No judgement intended or implied on others. I know at least one person who experienced emotional and spiritual release through last night's worship, which is great.

    In my experience, the really good bits of last night's Christian Praise in Leicester were the bits where I could forget about myself and concentrate on the God we'd gone there to praise. But I was surprised by how much of the evening I spent being self-conscious or being distracted by the audio visuals or by how good the band were. I think this probably just means I don't get out enough!

    End of confessional... and my keyboard is still leaking badly thought out words!

  • Thanks for your thoughts.

    Even if God doesn't need to be made to feel good about Godself, might not God be capable of smiling? I once said in a sermon when I was a student that it would be nice to think that we could put a smile on the face of God. I think I still think it would be... even if God doesn't feel better but simply delights in God's creatures....

The comments are closed.