The sermon is, by its audacious claim to be the word of God for the people at this time in this place, an implication of a miracle. The miracle is a faint but, by God’s grace, unmistakable “incarnation” of Jesus Christ. Fully divine, fully human, yet one God-with-us is the Christian confession of the nature of Christ. The sermon dares to make the same claim.
—Leanne Van Dyk, “Proclamation: Revelation, Christology,” A More Profound Alleluia, 72
It is often said that Luther restored congregational singing. This is true, but he did more than that: Luther restored preaching to the congregation—a most appropriate activity for lay priests. “If, now, the congregation is to proclaim the divine truth, it must have a sermon worth preaching. This is the reason for the substantial…doctrinal content in many of the Reformation hymns.”
—P. J. Janson, “The Reason We Sing, Reformation and Revival 4.4 (Fall 1995), 19
Soren Kierkegaard observes that the true test of a good sermon is not whether people heard it, enjoyed it, and discussed it over their Sunday meal. Rather, the philosopher points out, the real test may be whether people heard it and found themselves too inspired, too angered, too challenged, or too sick to eat a Sunday meal.
—cited in C. Welton Gaddy, The Gift of Worship, 78
Proclamation in public worship in New Testament times never consists of what we should call pure doctrine. It is always by the measure of the Apostles’ word none the less prophetic utterance, always a testimony in which the very person of the one who testifies is involved; it is utterance which thus attempts to interpret the present situation with the authority of the Spirit.
—Eduard Schweizer, “Worship in the NT,” Reformed and Presbyterian World 24:5 (March 1957): 202
The basic unit of meaning on Sunday morning is not the sermon but the service.
—Marva Dawn, Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, 215
POINTS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR THE PASTOR
- Be a private worshiper.
- Sing, pray and preach out of a walk of worship.
- Study worship.
- Preach on worship.
- Model worship publicly.
- Lead worship.
- Handle the text reverently and responsively in sermon preparation.
- Preach as an act of worship.
- Preach as an invitation to worship.
—Ron Man, “The Pastor and Worship,” Worship Notes 11.2 (February 2016)