Preaching and Possibility

I have been reading Walter Brueggemann again. This time from Finally Comes the Poet. The following thoughts that are worthwhile are his.

Preaching is no time for scolding or urging. It is not about doctrinal clarification or a problem solving answer. It is not moral instruction or good advice. Preaching acknowledges that we have spent the week practicing that God is not real. Preaching suggests that we spend most of our time listening to news that dulls us to the real news. Preaching opens up a text that we could not have come up with on our own – a world that is shaped by the news of the gospel. Preaching is the surprising proposal that the real world is not the one made available by the rulers of this age. Such a proposal brings with it new possibility.

Even as the congregation departs and quarreling begins in the car, followed by tension at dinner, followed by a tired beginning on Monday morning – the fact does not change that a new word has been uttered that brings hope and possibility.

The bible is our guarantee that the ideas of another world are possible. The preacher is a voice that shatters settled realty and evokes new possibility for listeners. From the narratives of Israel to prophetic poems to the testimony of early Christians, the singers and storytellers spoke about dangerous matters and new possibilities.

The Prince of Darkness has powerful allies in this age and together they try to prevent these new possibilities from being heard. Against the Prince and his allies we speak these texts and retell these stories. The Author of the text laughs with delight when the text is spoken boldly and new possibility comes into play.