Saturday, October 27, 2007

Searching for Something for Sunday

It's Bible Sunday tomorrow and I thought I should preach on the Bible...

Pretty simple, you might think, but thirty years of being in the Church (yes I was eight when I started) and twenty years of more formal study make it a huge subject and I am having real problems narrowing it down. What makes it more difficult is that the theme given by the Bible Society is 'a feast of God's word' which is essentially what I have been saying over the past few weeks as we have been studying the Bible at our teaching evenings. I know that most of the people who will be coming to my main service tomorrow haven't been at our evening sessions, but some have, and i wonder whether I am selling them short, as it were, by re-using material I've used before.

Some Clergy reuse sermons all the time, we have a three year cycle of readings, so three years down the road it is possible to pretty much preach the same thing - I know of one minister in a University who did exactly that, because most of the students were on three year degree course, and when he found himself in a parish where his congregation stayed pretty much the same over years he had to start again and write a whole load of sermons as people started recognising what he had said before!

I've tried to avoid that.

Sure, there have been times when I've reused stuff, but normally I have rewritten a sermon even if I know the congregation haven't heard it before, mainly because I think (as far as possible in a multi parish setting) things need to be aimed at the present congregation in their present context rather than rehashed for our convenience. So most Sundays I try and say something new, even if some of the stuff is recycled!

Sometimes its hard to think of something 'new' - although by new I mean restating old truths, and digging into the meaning of Bible passages, not necessarily saying something completely original but re-interpreting for present context. Though for Christmas and Easter, for instance, there is only so much one can say to what is often an unchurched congregation, or with a theme which is rather limited!

So I am pondering what to say in twelve or so hours for a group of people coming to Church with some expectation of a preach on the Bible. I'll let you know how I get on!


quilly said...

Okay, then use one of my old sermons! Basically, the Bible is an anthology. Between it's pages you find documentation of man's relationship with God. Within the Bible we find stories on how we should act (examples here) and how we shouldn't act (examples here).

For the most part the people in the stories are no different then you or I. Let's take Moses for example. Moses was the typical pew sitter -- not me, get someone else -- kind of guy. However, when he finally agreed to trust God ...

Do the same with Abraham and Sarah, Noah, Paul, etc. Little viginettes. Then end by suggesting they argue fewer can't, and test their faith.

Ta da!

Except by now you've already finished your own sermon, right?

Nick said...

Hope it goes well.

Personally I hink that it's good that you try to keep it fresh all the time. Of course there are those times when God has an important message for his people... and they need to hear it again. So I don't believe there is a concrete rule to say thou shalt or shalt not recycle.

Just have to remember to move where the Spirit takes you... and if thats an old message reinforced or a new word for the people... just go with what God lays on your heart.

Heh that makes it all sound soooooo easy. :-)

Marion said...

I'll bet your sermon went very well, Alastair.

Sometimes, if I'm stumped, I'll ask for help from Creator, and I've always received it...even if it means using something from a past writing. There's something there that fits a situation, perhaps.

The first sentence is always the most difficult!