Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A "sermon" for tomorrow.

Most of the time, in fact nearly all of the time I preach at my parish church I do so in a more traditional fashion. Yet I'm a poet at heart, I love the immediacy of language, I love rhyme and repetition, I love alliteration and I love pictures that unfurl as they are spoken.

When I read the readings for tomorrow I couldn't face the prospect of preaching a typical sermon: of discussing how this was not the first feeding miracle in Matthew's gospel. Or of speaking about how this feeding imagery will be interwoven throughout the gospels until that fateful meal in the upper room and beyond.

And nor could I face the idea of exegetical gymnastics with the reading from Isaiah. Such a fantastic and startlingly graphic and beautiful reading.

So I've decided to do something a bit different, to my usual delivery. I must admit, I'm on a bit of a journey with preaching at the moment. I'm revaluating its purpose and my role within the preaching ministry. I'm wondering about its effectiveness and I'm wondering about how I should go about my preaching.

I'm also wondering about my preaching voice. Not my tone and style of delivery, but the voice I bring to bear on the texts I am called to interpret afresh to each new generation, in and out of season. I'm not sure where the journey is leading in the long-term. (Probably in a big circle - like the pastoral cycle!)

I'm aware that scripture is potent and powerful. I'm aware of the responsibility of preaching. But I'm also aware more and more of the need to use the voice that I have been given to preach in the context in which I am planted. I'm also not sure where this goes missiologically, but I do pray that I'll be open to the Holy Spirit's leading with every fresh reading I am called to speak about.


Here are the NIV versions of the readings for tomorrow:

Isaiah 25:6-10

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
10 The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain;
    but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure.


Matthew 15:29-37

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the
here And here is the response/sermon/poem (after a large build-up - this could have been two blog posts!)

11AM Spoken Traditional Language Eucharist. Wednesday 4th December 2013. St. Mary’s Nantwich.

Isaiah 25:6-10 + Matthew 15:29-37

May I speak in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.


Come to the banquet!

Come to the feast!

Bring the sick!

Bring those who have no hope!

Bring those who are broke!

Bring those who are broken!

Bring those without a dream!

Bring those without a reason to go on!

Bring the lost and the never known!

Bring the homeless and the wanderer!

Bring the bereft of options and the blessed of lack!

Bring the heavy hearted and the thin-waisted!

Bring the poor!

Bring the sick!

Bring the hurting and the helpless!

Bring the cursed and the blinded!

Bring the ones who carry shattered dreams!

Bring the ones who’ve never taken a step in their lives!

Bring those whose lives are yet to truly begin!

Bring the shrieking and the shattered!

Bring the frozen with fear!

Bring the excluded and the un-honourable!

Bring the tired who suffer from a tiredness most people will never know!

Bring the un-cleanable!

Bring the unredeemed!

Bring the peace-less and the placeless!

Bring the failed and the faint!

Bring life’s folly’s!

Bring those familiar with false hopes!

Bring the jaded and germ-bearer!

Bring the pestilence’s fodder!

Bring the diseased!

Bring them all!

Gather them in!

Bring them to a feast!

Bring them to a banquet!

Bring them to a feast of heaven!

Bring them to a meal that is a miracle!

Bring the world weary to this most amazing of matinee meals!

Bring them on mats!

Bring them on crutches!

Bring them on heavy laden backs!

Bring them because....!

Bring them because they have no other hope!

Bring them because they will appreciate the opportunity!

Bring them to the one who speaks of living water!

Bring them to God’s Son!

Bring them to the Divine!

Bring them to the man who is acquainted with sorrows!

Bring them to the one who can bear their burdens!

Bring them to the feast!

The feast of the king!

The feast of the friend!

The feast for the faithful and faithless!

Bring the lame!

Bring the blind!

Bring the crippled!

Bring the mute!

Bring them to his feet!

Bring them before the day is done!

Bring them to the saviour son!

Bring them for they have nowhere else to go!

Bring them because no one else wants to know!

Bring them to the Father’s heart!

Bring them to the mountain!

Bring them to the fountain that flows with water that never ends!

Bring them into the saviour’s presence!

Bring them and bring yourselves!

Bring all that you bear!

Bring your fears and your anxieties!

Bring the dreams you’ve let go of!

Bring the hurts only you hold!

Bring the loved ones whose grip you long for!

Bring the cherished memories!

Bring your hopes that are beyond hope!

Bring your need of miracles!

Bring your lives of potential!

Bring your woes and weary words!

Bring your mouths filled with petitions that scratch your throat!

Bring your visions and your dreams!

Bring yourselves and your weaknesses!

Bring your joys and delights!

Bring your world weary wants!

Bring your fading passions and desires for peace!

Bring your anger and your guilt!

Bring your frustration and your faith!

Bring your delight in autumn and your despair at winter!

Bring your shattered reasons and your battered aspirations!

Bring your loved ones in your heart!

Bring the poor!

Bring the sick!

Bring the dying!

Bring the accusers!

Bring the shattered!

Bring the beaten and the bruised!

Bring the beater and the bruiser!

Bring everyone and everything up to the mountain!

Bring them all up to the mountain!

Bring them to the feet of the Lord!

Bring them to a banquet of loaves and fish!

Bring them to a banquet of aged wines and the best meats!

Bring them to the mountain where the shroud of death will be destroyed!

Bring them to the mountain where the Lord will wipe away all tears!

Bring them to the mountain where the Lord will clear away the world’s disgrace!

Bring them to the mountain of the Lord!

Bring them to the mountain of the Lord where the saviour gathers around him the crowds!

Bring them to the mountain where the people gather!

Bring it all!

Bring them all!


Bring them to the mountain of the Lord!


Bring them to the feet of the Lord!


Bring them to the table of the Lord!


Bring those we have loved and those we have lost!

Bring the joys and the despairs!

Bring the forgotten and the failed memories!

Bring them to the table of the Lord!

Bring them before the bread and wine!

Bring them before this cup of his blood!

Bring them before this plate of his flesh!

Bring them and bring yourselves!

Bring everything before the Lord!

Bring it to the mountain!

Bring it to the saviour’s feet!

Bring it to the table!

Bring yourselves and receive!










1 comment:

Autumn said...

A pity I couldn't be there...hope it went well :0)