February 22, 2011

Preaching on the path

reposted from Jan. 6, 2011

Henri Nouwen challenges pastors to become deeply familiar with their own interior life–”it’s dark corners as well as the light spots, the closed doors as well as the drafty rooms,”–in order to be ministers who are able to help others navigate the inner world. We are able to step into the shoes of others as we recognize our own path.
This then leads into how we preach.  Nouwen says:
“In this context, preaching means more than handing over a tradition; it is, rather, the careful and sensitive articulation of what is happening in the community so that those who listen can say: “You say what I only suspected, you clearly express what I vaguely felt, you bring to the fore what I fearfully kept in the back of my mind. Yes, yes–you say who we are, you recognize our condition.”
This to me is the call of real, authentic preaching. It is the connection of the story of Scripture, the directives of scripture with our own journey–at such a place of depth from own souls that others recognize the hidden in their own hearts.
When this place of vulnerability and connection is reached, the soil is ready to recieve the Word of God.  This is relational preaching–that which is engages the human and Divine in all of us–calls us into God, releases us from the binds of ourselves. This is the walking-alongside, sherpa-style preaching that draws us into the presence of Christ.

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