Thursday, July 25, 2013
Props and visual aids. . .
I was reminded of a story, factual though the names have not been used to protect the innocent, from a preacher preaching a sermon in a highly liturgical church. Homiletic props were one of his specialties. This priest who once placed a box of dog excrement at the top of the nave and, after wandering around it, asked parishioners to guess the contents. When no one understandably could, he let them in on his secret and said, “Sometimes you have to walk through a lot of this to get to Jesus.”
Uhhhh... Well... I would say visual aid not needed. But that might just be me...
It seems that over and over again when we fear the Word will not do what God has purposed it to do, we come up with gimmicks that we think will bolster the Word, assist the Word, give added weight or relevance to the Word... but when we do this, we nearly always detract from the Word so that the preacher, the preaching, and the Word preached is diminished as a consequence.
If I might be allowed, the poor folks in the pews have to walk through a lot of the above named visual aid and too much of it comes from the people charged with preaching the Word. Drama is no substitute for faithfulness. Gimmicks are no substitute for faith. Being infamous is not the same as being memorable. The first job of the preacher is to get out of the way of the text (Word). Have I said enough?