Much of the time, unfortunately. We have been uplifted by hymns and songs that celebrate the mighty works of God with clarity, joy and biblical faithfulness. Then we settled down to a mumbled Bible reading and a muddled sermon and breathe a sigh of relief when the final ‘Amen’ is uttered.
Well, perhaps that’s a bit unfair. But it too often feels like that. David Day asks the question, ‘When is the sermon the ‘low point’ in the service?’ and suggests the following answers:-
1. When I do not really expect to hear God speaking. I do not sit with eager expectation or with a desperate soul-thirst for the living water.
2. When the words are irrelevant. They do not live in my world, or heal my wounds, or speak into my condition.
3. The preacher isn’t speaking a living word. It is banal and dull. It is predictable and tired. It doesn’t reflect the real Gospel, because the real Gospel is always slightly surprising or shocking. ‘What I get is tamed, ordered, buttoned up, prepackaged and monumentally, mind-bendingly dull.’
David Day, A Preaching Workbook, 3.