Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sermon Background Noise

Good sermons are based upon a scriptural text, and a preacher should do the hard work of research and preparation. We should consult the original languages. We read a multitude of commentaries. I also find artwork and music associated with the text very helpful.

The internet is not always the best place to find information for a sermon, but occasionally I find stuff that forms the background noise for my sermons. Questions might be raised. Alternate viewpoints may be expressed. Then, you listen to the text and pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The following are links that formed some of the background noise for my Christmas Eve sermon. The focal point for the Christmas Eve sermon was Luke 2:10-11.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold , I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Some of these links were found at the lectionary-based internet site, Others, I happened upon on my own. I don't endorse every idea contained, but they begin a conversation.
  • It's always helpful perspective to see how the Reformers handled the Scriptural texts. Both Luther and Calvin are great sparring partners.

o Martin Luther's Christmas Day Sermon.

o John Calvin's Commentary on Luke 2:8-14.

  • I came to focus on the angel’s announcement to “fear not”. From the news, here are some perspectives on fear in 2009.

o “Thousands Fear Mayon Volcano’s Eruption”

o “Family in Fear After Drive-By Shooting”

  • An Arizona Daily Star editorial suggests hope is still relevant in 2008 and 2009. The editorial takes much from the 1897 New York Sun article, “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. The basic message is that Christmas reminds us there is “more to life than worry and fear.” Unfortunately, I wonder if Christmas without Christ can sustain the hope that the world so desperately needs. Can Santa alone really save Christmas?
  • An article from Tampa Bay Online quotes a number of local pastors on practical ways to “spread Christmas joy”. Some encourage service. Others encourage the devotional life of prayer and Scripture reading. A few suggest that Christmas is the time to reconcile with others. Forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
  • Finally, Handel’s Messiah was my soundtrack as I wrote my sermon.

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