Preaching is what we are ordained to do. It is one of the most remarkable privileges that any person can be given. We are presuming to speak for God. It is not, as many seem to think today, simply telling people off or condemning them for their failures. Nor is it just a ‘pep talk’ – a friendly word of reassurance and encouragement. It is something quite different. It is engaging in a supernatural transaction. It is presenting the Word of God to the people of God. My friend and mentor Terry Fullam was a great preacher, and I learned a great deal from him. In a memorable one-liner, he said that sermons are a, “ … Word about the Word from the Word.” In other words, sermons are always to have a Gospel focus, with Jesus Christ at the heart, and grounded in the Holy Scriptures.
Terry Fullam spent hours preparing his sermons – he told me that a useful guideline was an hour of preparation for a minute in delivery. By the time he actually preached his sermon – he never used any notes – it all seemed effortless. He also found nothing wrong with recycling his sermons. “They get better with age,” he once told me with a grin! Early in his time at St. Paul’s in Darien, I realized that he had three brilliant Christmas sermons that he brought back in a regular pattern each year.
Our eldest daughter, Sarah, who is gifted with a remarkable memory, also noticed this and entertained her high school friends by whispering his next lines or the “punch lines” to his stories before he finished them. This resulted in barely suppressed giggles from the entire youth group while he preached. Once, I observed what was happening, I apologized to Terry for the disruption. He smiled and said, “Don’t apologize. Sarah has managed to memorize my sermons. What higher compliment could a preacher ever receive?”
We so appreciated our recent visit with the Interim Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, his wife Angela, and daughter Rachel. Watch for Friday's post of his sermon for tomorrow's Eucharist as well. pic.twitter.com/W8jsl72Qpg
— Trinity School for Ministry (@TS4Ministry) March 30, 2021