Jan. 21, 2022
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Gosh! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our priests could say the same about us? I wonder often how it is that, during a sermon, the priest doesn’t throw something at the congregation. Have you ever noticed how little attention is actually paid to the sermon? Folks get a little restive in their seats, going through purses, rustling the bulletin, checking their clothes for lint … the list is endless. But we’d pay quite a bit of money to go to a venue to hear our favorite author speak.
But that’s exactly what the priest is doing in his sermon – he is speaking for the Author! He’s taken the readings and applied them to today’s time and place and made the Author’s intent much clearer and more personal.
There’s a good deal of work that goes into a sermon. They don’t just ‘jot down thoughts’ as they go through the day. They study, they prepare. They proof and reproof the sermon to get it just right – to make sure they have presented the information in its fulness and in such a way as to be accessible to everyone. That doesn’t happen with five minutes thought and ten minutes writing.
Too bad applause is frowned on in church. I’ve heard many a sermon that should have gotten standing ovations!