The truth of God is not sterile. It is not theory. It is not impersonal. In fact, it is just the opposite. It is incarnational and personal. It comes to us in the God who is made flesh in His Son and it comes through the personal Word heard in the ear and the incarnational shape of sacraments that bestow what they sign. The truth of God has a face and entered human experience in the flesh. We experience it as hearers with ears into mind and hearts. It is also an experience. We have beheld His glory as the one and only begotten of the Father.
Christ made Himself such an earthen vessel (though perfect) and He has chosen to make Himself known through earthen vessels (pastors). Reverence for preaching and for the preacher has nothing to do with the man but with the Christ who has borrowed the voice and who continues to speak as One among us. God uses such earthen vessels but His truth is not frail or limited to this mortal realm. It is the eternal we meet in the moment in Christ and it is the everlasting who enters this mortal realm and mortals through the means of grace.
God could have used angels for more perfect results and could have used those without wills to ensure perfect obedience but He chose instead to use chamber pots. That does not diminish the preacher or his preaching. Instead it admits the obvious. God has placed His Word in the mouths of unworthy people and chose to use sinful voices to proclaim not only absolution but eternal life. All of this is really an amazing thing to ponder.
Preaching may fail and preachers but the Sacrament of the Altar does not. When the sermon may do no harm but little good, the Sacrament is there to bestow in clarity what has come muddled through the preacher. That is the genius of the Lord in providing Word and Sacrament. They do not compete nor do they simply repeat each other. They complement one another. We have only imperfect preachers but that does not excuse their own failure to take seriously or prepare well for preaching task. Even when the culture around us and the folks in the pew undervalue the sermon, it is no excuse for the preacher to take casually his call to preach faithfully and without his skill and resources the full counsel of God's Word. In this way the people learn reverence for preaching even from the preacher's own reverence for the medium and his own personal task.
Just some random thoughts on preaching for Sunday morning. . .