Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Long Sermons that Bore

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Long Sermons that bore...

I had this thought that for the last 2 years, has been mindboggling me. Matthew 5-7, the 'Sermon on the Mount', in which, at the end, Jesus basically says, "Hey, this is the key foundational stuff here, if you get it, you are building on the right foundation, etc. Anyway, using my most excellent wife as a listener, I read it outloud, and, trying to be fair, read it REALLY, REALLY slow. It took less than 19 minutes. So, the most foundational message, the 'sermon' that uncountable 45 minute and above sermons have been preached on, was likely shared in less than 20 minutes.
Did Jesus perhaps have a different view of how long it takes to preach a message than we do? Did He get consumed with 'preaching', per se, and did all of our 'need' to prolong and glorify our expositions actually come from historical Greek thought and not our Lord Himself? (In the Greek, what is often translated as preach can simply also be translated as proclaim. I have a feeling that I can proclaim something without having to wax eloquent for 45 minutes.)

Those are some fair questions, I think. I have heard many GREAT sermons, and benefitted from them. But I wonder if more benefit could be gleaned in my life and the lives of others if we looked at structures and habits we have in our practice of following Jesus if we went about some things in a different way.
In I Corinthians, Paul gives great insights into how the church should meet. It seems very different than the way believers often gather today. And it sounds MUCH more interactive.
Allow me to quote from 1 Corinthians 2, with a few sidenotes. "No eye (singular) has seen; no ear (singular) has heard; and no mind (singular) has conceived of what God has prepared for those who love Him. But He has revealed it to us (plural) by His spirit. (Thank you for allowing me to borrow some of your insights into this verse, Frank Viola!)
Do you have any hunger to find out what God has prepared for you, assuming you consider yourself amongst those that love Him? Yet, do you also feel that you are lacking in relationships and mutual sharing in a healthy Christian community? Can I submit you need Jesus, and to find Him, you may need to find an 'us.' It is not necessarily 'negative' at all to listen to sermon after sermon...but if that is the totality of our Christian life and gathering, then we will suffer. And I believe we have. We all need to be a part of a community where all can share as the body of Christ coming together. Christ is the head, not a series of sermons from one member of the body of Christ. Christ has decided to express Himself through the whole body, and not just one part on 90% of our Sunday services. (Personally, I leave a ton of room and grace when an out-of-town ministry experience comes in...they are, if you will, a part of the body that really hasn't been heard from in awhile, and it can really catapult the local body to good stuff.)

In 1 Corinthians 2, (and the whole book, really) this concept of everyone's part being essential and important, sharing during gathering times, is found all over the letter.
It makes my constant habit of only hearing one or two people share whenever I gather with other saints seem empty and void of the fullness of life that I believe Christ wants to express.
I Corinthians that verse. What does it say? How is your/my life different from that?

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