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Praise the Lord sermons #204721
07/04/05 08:45 AM
07/04/05 08:45 AM
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Ohio
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Joe T Offline OP
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Joe T  Offline OP
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Ohio
One of the key factors to proper Evangelization is to 'send out the message like angels.'

My wife and I heard a fire-and-brimstone sermon yesterday and departed the church feeling inspired. The preacher spoke with a passion, sometimes with hands aloft and pacing back and forth. The central topic of his sermon was Jesus Christ. He was quite focused and well prepared to deliver the message. He spoke like an angel. Even though he had his notes and books with him, he rarely, if ever, referred to them. The message of Jesus Christ was already in him and he was just letting the Spirit direct him.

We can become experts in all the rubrics of our liturgies, doing everything primp and proper. BUT ... if the core message of our mission is not Jesus Christ, it is futile, like a house built on sand. How prepared are we to deliver the message of Jesus Christ? Do we know more about vestment styles than we do about putting on Christ?

Again, my wife and I were taken aback on the sermon we heard yesterday in one of our inner city (Cleveland) churches. The message delivered was powerful, energetic, and passionate because the message was focused on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Several times, I felt inspired to respond "Amen!" and "Alleluia!" and "Praise the Lord, Brother!" during his expounding of the Gospel.

The only boasting done was the boasting in Christ, Jesus. My wife commented how it was definitely not another "I-me" sermon. It doesn't matter how many degrees one has or how many parochial conquests one made in the past week if it isn't in the name about Jesus Christ.

Can we continue this thread regarding your thoughts on sermon delivery? Do people really want to hear about Jesus Christ? What affect does a sermon totally focused on Jesus have on the parish?

Praise the Lord!
Joe Thur

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204722
07/04/05 02:19 PM
07/04/05 02:19 PM
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Muscatine, IA
akemner Offline
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Two things i notice are fairly constant in sermons and homilies-lack of content and poor delivery. As Joe points out, the priest or deacon is up there talking at folks about themselves and what they do in some drab monotone (and then wonder why the same folks fall asleep). Many do not even look at the people they are supposed to address. We are fortunate that this is not a problem at my parish, but it seems to be such a widespread problem that when our pastor is somewhere else and preaches, that folks are wowed by his preaching-and this after he cuts back a bit.

The point is our lives are supposed to be about Jesus and our life with him. That is exciting stuff. But how can anyone get excited about it if the fellow up front who is supposed to have a deep love-connection with Him is ho-hum about it, or seems not to care about Jesus or how he lived(s). There must be content about that life, what the Church teaches, and how we participate and live those teachings (ISTM that orthodox Christian teachings are not things to be believed so much as to be lived). Taht content must be there. And the excitement and love that comes from living those teachings must pour out of the mouth of the preacher, that the preachees can become excited about it and spread it to others outside of the community.

Does not our Lord say someplace that his desire is to set fire to the earth. Zeal is a part of that fire. But the flame must start somewhere.

In Christ,
Adam

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204723
07/04/05 03:35 PM
07/04/05 03:35 PM
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NW, USA
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Our new pastor gave his first homily this past Sunday. It was water after a long draught and much more than I had ever expected. The previous priest,who was a nice enough fellow, told jokes and usually read from a book of prepared sermons which made it hard to concentrate let alone retain what was shared!

The new pastor's greeting and first homily was wonderful as we heard the emphasis on the scriptures from the liturgy and as he focued us on the realty of Jesus Christ. Even the congregational responses and singing were better. When he finished the homily I think that hearts were touched. My eyes watered up and I felt a deep sense of joy. His primary purpose as stated by a hand-out he gave us is in the area of evangelization and building up the Body of Christ through small groups' participation...things mentioned on our forum on the Evangelization category lately. The Holy Spirit is moving...

I am praising God for this renewing and edifying presence and looking forward to how it goes... smile

In Christ,

Mary Jo

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204724
07/04/05 04:31 PM
07/04/05 04:31 PM
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Posts: 2,960
Ohio
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Joe T Offline OP
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Joe T  Offline OP
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Ohio
Thank you, Adam and Mary Jo, for your replies.

I wish not to concentrate on the problem of I-me sermons - that would be bordering on negativity. I wish to concentrate on the positive essence of the message: to evangelize. What does it mean? Where do sermons play a part in this? What is the message?

The word 'angel' in in Evangelization. We also refer to the Gospel as 'Evangelion.' I remember how the philosophers of ancient used to spend much time defining their terms prior to explaining the topic at hand. It prevents us from being loose lip about the topic and also keeps us focused on our core business: To preach Christ crucified and His glorious Resurrection.

The Gospel and Evangelization is about Jesus Christ, God-Man, Incarnate.

Of course, the Christian message can find applications in our daily living. We must speak about contemporary issues facing believing Christians.

But delivery is important. A lover who conveys his sentiments to his beloved in a dry, monotone, almost flippant way will have his affections questioned. Now, everyone doesn't have the gift of preaching. It is an art form. But like any speech, lecture, homily, or instruction, if the one delivering it is sincere, people will overlook many things. But the I-me sermon is not a good example of sincerity. It is vain.

How we love to hear a good sermon. How especial it is to hear one and not go away thinking that it was about you for a change. biggrin But a good sermon is one where Christ IS preached, His message of salvation is conveyed, His teachings and actions are reflected on, and is addressed in a manner that inspires folks to carry the message forward, not a pompous, haughty scolding. How many folks listened to a very long, but good sermon, and left church saying, "Now THAT was what I called a liturgy! I felt like I really went to church today."

How sweet the message.

God bless,
Joe Thur

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204725
07/04/05 11:54 PM
07/04/05 11:54 PM
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Posts: 372
Downers Grove, IL
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Joe,

Homiletics is something that needs to be taught. But not everyone has the skills. There are some who, with all the training in the world, still wouldn't be able to deliver an effective homily.

Another problem is that homiletics has been dropped down to the Lowest Common Denominator. Many priests are still taught to take the scriptures and try to make them "relevant" to the congregation. I was searching for the USCCB document that talked about this, but couldn't find it.

Priests who are trained in this fashion start out with movie reviews, stories about roller coasters, jokes and other "devices" to make a connection the congregation.

In my old parish we have several deacons that would preach once a month each. And each one of them followed the same formula. Usually it would boil down to the point that we had to be nice to everyone and be tolerant. No talk of the chance of eternal damnation. Can't mention that, people might leave and how would we pay for the big renovation that we need to do.

The pastor at the same parish would do surveys and found out that many people thought he talked too long with his homily. His answer for that. He announced that he would spend no more than 9 minutes on the homily. When he preached, he took off his watch and put it where he could watch it and from that point forward, never spoke more than 9 minutes. He also would drop certain hot button issues if the surveys came back and told him that people were tired of hearing about them.

In many places there is the idea of "Once Baptized always saved" mentality, in other places there is the "No one goes to hell" mentality. Hence you have sermons that tell people that that they are just okay where they are and they don't have to change because God loves them. No wonder church attendance in the Catholic Church in America is down to around 25%. If God loves us the way we are then why get our lazy butts out of bed and go to Church?

Luckily there are priests out there who don't follow the current rules of homiletics. And if you are lucky enough to have one of them, then you will be challenged to be the Christian that Christ is calling you to be.

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204726
07/05/05 04:32 AM
07/05/05 04:32 AM
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Ohio
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Joe T Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by John Gibson:
Homiletics is something that needs to be taught. But not everyone has the skills. There are some who, with all the training in the world, still wouldn't be able to deliver an effective homily.
John,

Thanks. I remember one cleric telling me that anything over five minutes is stretching it. I didn't believe him. Its not so much that the laity has ADD; its a reflection on the preacher having really nothing to say of substance.

The laity has great elasticity to listen to a longer sermon. The preacher doesn't have to put on theatrics to entertain them. People know when someone is trying to amuse them, however childish the tactic.

Like I said before, the preacher may not have the artform, but he might be sincere. The greatness of the sermon was that he was well prepared, knew what the topic was (Jesus), didn't have to refer constantly to his notes or read them (it was already in his heart), and spoke with passion (one can tell that the message energized him). He didn't read notes written years ago once upon a time only to be recycled again for another congregation who weren't there for the first monotone reading (laziness). He didn't use the homily to think out loud about his past week's conquests that had nothing to do with the Gospel passage (I-me).

Compare any sermon to how a lover talks to his/her beloved. Would the beloved like to sit and listen to the lover read from his love poem he wrote years ago for another? Does the words stemming from his mouth sound like, "Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me ........."? Does he look at his watch while telling his beloved that he loves to spend his time with her?

The message that must remain at the core of any Evangelization is Jesus Christ. Like a thermometer that reads the current temperature, a homily is a reflection of the preacher's relationship with Him.

Joe

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204727
07/05/05 01:11 PM
07/05/05 01:11 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,108
Canada
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Dear Joe,

My friend, a Ukie Catholic priest (married with seven children) went to visit St George's Cathedral in Lviv in Ukraine some time ago.

The parish priest was introducing him as a guest from Canada and spent 25 minutes on this introduction.

Fr. Bohdan (or "Father Bo" as he likes to call himself wink ), looked at his watch and figured he shouldn't speak longer than five minutes as half an hour was the limit he considered ultimate by way of a sermon.

After the Liturgy, Fr. Bo met the annoyed parish priest in the sacristy who told him angrily, "Don't you ever do that to me again!"

"What?" Fr. Bo asked.

"Deliver a short sermon like that!"

"I introduced you as a guest from Canada and the people were expecting a real SERMON from you, do you understand? But what did you do, eh? What did you do?!"

Fr. Bo came back to Canada a much wiser man . . .

Alex

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204728
07/05/05 01:51 PM
07/05/05 01:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,531
NW, USA
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Quote
Originally posted by J Thur:

Thanks. I remember one cleric telling me that anything over five minutes is stretching it. I didn't believe him. Its not so much that the laity has ADD; its a reflection on the preacher having really nothing to say of substance.

The laity has great elasticity to listen to a longer sermon. The preacher doesn't have to put on theatrics to entertain them. People know when someone is trying to amuse them, however childish the tactic.

Like I said before, the preacher may not have the artform, but he might be sincere. The greatness of the sermon was that he was well prepared, knew what the topic was (Jesus), didn't have to refer constantly to his notes or read them (it was already in his heart), and spoke with passion (one can tell that the message energized him). He didn't read notes written years ago once upon a time only to be recycled again for another congregation who weren't there for the first monotone reading (laziness). He didn't use the homily to think out loud about his past week's conquests that had nothing to do with the Gospel passage (I-me).

Compare any sermon to how a lover talks to his/her beloved. Would the beloved like to sit and listen to the lover read from his love poem he wrote years ago for another? Does the words stemming from his mouth sound like, "Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me ........."? Does he look at his watch while telling his beloved that he loves to spend his time with her?

The message that must remain at the core of any Evangelization is Jesus Christ. Like a thermometer that reads the current temperature, a homily is a reflection of the preacher's relationship with Him.

Joe
Joe..thumbs up on this! Thanks.. smile

Your friend in Christ,

Mary Jo

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204729
07/07/05 12:08 AM
07/07/05 12:08 AM
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Posts: 1,516
In the Alleghenies, the mother...
Orthodox Pyrohy Offline
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In the Alleghenies, the mother...
Sermons work if they address church teachings etc.. The worst are the "I was at the grocery store two days ago and ran into Mrs. Smith and she told me a story that relates to todays Gospel." Public speaking classes would benefit some homilists. The average attention span of an American (from the States) is what 7-10 minutes.
I know this one priest who can give you a homily and you don't want him to quit. You find yourself wanting to shout, "AMEN!!"
He addresses the hard issues, speaks the truth.

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204730
07/07/05 12:12 AM
07/07/05 12:12 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
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In the Alleghenies, the mother...
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In the Alleghenies, the mother...
When I meant the attention span of 7-10 minutes, if the speech/homily is horrid, most people won't last the 7 minutes.
But get a man up there who can lay down a great sermon and I could take an hour of it and not realize the time, I'd be hanging on the edge of my pew.

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204731
07/07/05 07:31 AM
07/07/05 07:31 AM
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Ohio
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Joe T Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by Massasauga:
The worst are the "I ... me ..."
Thank you.
Joe

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204732
07/07/05 10:08 AM
07/07/05 10:08 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,186
Walled Lake, Mi
Carson Daniel Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Massasauga:
I know this one priest who can give you a homily and you don't want him to quit. You find yourself wanting to shout, "AMEN!!"
Do you? I do.

Dan L

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204733
07/07/05 10:40 AM
07/07/05 10:40 AM
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Knoxville, TN
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byzanTN Offline
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I really think there is too much emphasis on sermons. While sermons may be the center of Protestant worship, they are not, and never were, the center of ours. Well-crafted, properly delivered sermons can enlighten, and illuminate Church teachings. Bad sermons frequently ramble and have no point other than to take up time. However, the sermon is not what Catholic worship is built upon.

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204734
07/07/05 10:45 AM
07/07/05 10:45 AM
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Walled Lake, Mi
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Dear friend,

They are much needed when it comes to evangelization. A good teaching sermon will inspire conversions. A good teaching sermon will remind the faithful and will help all of us in our theosis. Indeed, worship is our center, but a good teaching sermon can prompt us to worship.

Dan L

Re: Praise the Lord sermons #204735
07/07/05 11:01 AM
07/07/05 11:01 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,960
Ohio
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Joe T Offline OP
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Joe T  Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
While sermons may be the center of Protestant worship, they are not, and never were, the center of ours.
My friend,

Did you not notice that our worship is BOTH Word and Eucharist? Historically speaking, we always celebrate two services combined.

Though some Christian communities got rid of the Liturgy of the Eucharist (to use contemporary terminology), the Catholic/Orthodox communities did not get rid of the Liturgy of the Word.

The Gospel is to the Liturgy of the Word as the Eucharist is to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

We taste and see how good the Lord is. If we have ears and eyes, we hear and see.

The beauty of our tradition is that we not only hear the Gospel proclaimed, but we can see it in our iconography (the Gospel in color).

But instead of hiding it under a bushel basket, we carry forward both the message of the Gospel and the communion of God's presence from the Liturgy.

No reason to set up false dichotomies between Protestants and Catholics. We should be proud to have the fulness of Christianity, which includes the Gospel and its proclamation.

Joe

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