Scriptures and applications
So many Sermons
Yesterday on my way to work, I listened to a rather good sermon on the radio. Whenever I have time to check my e-mails, and read blogs I have 5 or six sermons to read. If I wanted to, I could read and listen to sermons 24 hours a day, and never come across the same one twice. We live in amazing time — one that was once just a dream:
Now, as to hearing a sermon to-day, if you wish to do so, you can either go to a church to hear it or stay at home.”
“How am I to hear it if I stay at home?”
“Simply by accompanying us to the music room at the proper hour and selecting an easy chair. There are some who still prefer to hear sermons in church, but most of our preaching, like our musical performances, is not in public, but delivered in acoustically prepared chambers, connected by wire with subscribers’ houses. If you prefer to go to a church I shall be glad to accompany you, but I really don’t believe you are likely to hear anywhere a better discourse than you will at home. I see by the paper that Mr. Barton is to preach this morning, and he preaches only by telephone, and to audiences often reaching 150,000.”
(Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy)
We live in this world — I can have all the sermons I want on the radio, and even more on the internet. Why is it that anyone would go to church. If the primary role of church is a setting for a sermon, then there is no reason to go.
To me, this suggests that if we want our churches to survive, we need to look at what roles the church plays outside of the sermon. We need to consider the role of a ‘pastor’, and de-emphasize the concept of a devoted preacher.
A church is, before anything else, a Christian community. Radio cannot provide this, and the internet only provides an insubstantial shadow. When we meet together, we can break bread, share our lives with one another, pray together, and encourage one another. If we lose our sense of community and shared life — we might as well listen to the sermons on the radio and internet.