A Word from Canon Schneider in the January 7, 2018 Adventurer
I’ve been thinking a lot about something that at first blush might seem blasphemous at a church like the Advent:
The Sunday sermon is necessary but insufficient.
I don’t mean the preached word on Sunday is weak. By no means! It’s supernaturally powerful. It’s incredibly important. It’s even climactic in the context of our services. It’s a rally cry that does spiritual heart surgery on us sinners with bound consciences. We desperately need the message of forgiveness on account of Christ proclaimed by our leaders with conviction and authority.
But the sermon is not enough for either our community or the world when it comes to widespread proclamation. Believers are (or ought to be) a movement of people so captivated by the gospel that we all have an urgency to proclaim this good news to each other and to the world. Receiving the proclaimed word from the inarticulate lips of another in an everyday and mundane setting might even be more powerful than the best sermon for some hearers.
The pulpit both feeds and is assisted by the work of all of us proclaiming the gospel to each other and our neighbors – spouses, children, housemates, parents, co-workers, friends, strangers, and so on. Even on Sunday in the margins of our time together in the hallways, on the sidewalks, or in the pews, we have an ability to preach to each other – there is a ministry of the pews as much as there is a ministry of the pulpit. And the ministry of the pews makes the ministry of the pulpit more powerful.
In Romans, Paul asks rhetorically, “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Consider my letter to you a commissioning of sorts. I herby give you (yes, you) permission to preach the good news of Christ’s death for all those you are given to speak this message, doing so with gentleness and respect. And you don’t need to get in the pulpit.