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Preaching in Context

CHAPTER 2 (excerpt)

Preaching in Context

What is this book, the Bible, to which Christian preachers return each week, and struggle to share with their congregations?  Why is the Bible the source for the weekly worship and oral communication that is preaching?  How does one move from a particular biblical text to the contexts of the congregation?  What is the purpose of the cyclical rhythm of preaching?  In this chapter, we step back to get a big picture view of the nature and contexts of biblical preaching.  We will develop a preliminary understanding the role of preaching as confession that invites disciples to live in the light of the biblical conversation about Immanuel, God with us as One of us.  As we explore preaching theologically, we will also look at the lectionary in the light of this theological reflection, and find that the lectionary falls short as a complete cycle of texts for preaching in the postmodern world.  The limits of the RCL shown in Chapter One—disconnected and missing texts—alienate the congregation from the biblical story.  Congregation members can hear four disconnected or loosely connected texts each Sunday, but never experience enough of the biblical witness to make sense of the Bible and shape their lives by it.  How preaching can serve as the interface between the Bible in all its richness and the many contexts of the local congregation today is a burden of this chapter: reflecting on the contexts of preaching both complicates and enriches our vision of the story of the Bible, and raises questions about how the lectionary cycle both communicates and obscures the biblical witness…


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