Preaching as Craftsmanship; Communicating Christ as an Artform…
Devotional THought of the Day:
27 God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. 28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. 29 To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me. Colossians 1:27-29 (TEV)
Communication works best when your audience can tell that you love what you do. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and dare to be lighthearted from time to time. It won’t affect your message negatively— quite the contrary. Look how often humor is used in commercials. Think of the end of Return of the Jedi. Would you have preferred a long, philosophical monologue by Luke Skywalker about the dangers of the dark side to the joyful celebrations after the defeat of the Empire? If so, you seriously should consider trying out the light side of the Force. You’ll have a lot more fun! (1)
This afternoon I was asked to respond to a pole – which would I rather be, a skilled theologian, or a skilled apologist. My instinctive answer is neither, I want to know God’s love, and I need to know that love is revealed in the mercy He has for me. Without that love, it doesn’t matter how knowledgable I am about the communication of magesterial attributes, or whether I can recite all of Lee Strobel’s or Josh McDowell or Rod Rosenblaadt’s work defending Christianity agains tthe atheistic and polytheistic hordes.
I can talk for hours about theology, and I do like true apologetics (the kind akin to Pascal and Chesterton and Lewis) where we give a reason for why we have hope. But without the relationship that God has made possible, it’s all worth as much as the the analysis of the 1986 budget and expenditures of the municipal region of East Ulan Ude. ( or more precisely – skulbala)
If that is true, then Paul’s words about preaching ring clear. Our message – the message of the entire Church, is about Christ crucified, about the hope that He will share His glory with us, That in His death on the cross, He has unified us with His death, and with the hope of His resurrection (see Romans 6:1-8) He endured all of this for the joy set before Him! (see Hebrews 12:1-2) This hope is what we have to be sure to communicate, for it is a matter of life and death. Eternity is there, a gift of God, to share eternity with Him.
All the theological debates, all the apolgetic wisdom bows to this simple message – that Christ dwells in us, and we in Christ, because He loves us. That news delivers all the glory of heaven to those the Holy Spirit brings to life and faith and the transformation that we call “repentance”. The change that comes when we realize God’s love, His gifts, His work in us.
Delivering that message takes as much craftsmanship as a painting of a sunset, or the composition of rock symphony. It takes more than just our minds, but like the artist, the very heart has to be revelaed, the Heart given to us by God (ezekiel 36:35ff) It’s not just a logical progression of teaching, of revealing the knowledge that we have that others do not. It’s about revealing Christ, in all His servanthood, in all His majesty, in all His love. WHich means we have to know it, we have to dwell in it,, we have to be people of prayer, men who love to meditate on, not just memorize, His words. They have to spring from us like water from Isaiah’s transformed wilderness (see Is 35)
Roderick, in a book that teaches about digital age communication, says it well. It’s about commuicating what we love. It’s about the message being more important than our dignity, more important than anything else we know.
As we worship then… as we praise God, as we preach, whether in church or across the breakfast table at Denny’s, may that message be what we hold most dear in our lives. So that we can reveal to them Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit, who has empowered us to do so, will assure the message of Christ’s love, creates and sustains life in those we share this great gift – the gift of knowing Jesus.
as we know the Lord is with us…. and loves us all.
(1) Vonhögen, Roderick (2013-09-09). Geekpriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer (Kindle Locations 409-413). Franciscan Media. Kindle Edition.
- This News Strengthens Weak Hands Unsteady Legs and Racing Hearts (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Is it insane to keep doing/teaching/preaching the same thing over and over, and expecting… (justifiedandsinner.com)