Preach the Word – July/August 2014

Volume 17, Number 6.

This issue celebrates “wedding season” as Prof. Paul Koelpin explores how to proclaim clear law and gospel amid the pomp and circumstance of a wedding.

Four Weddings or a Funeral?

While pastors generally prefer the context of a funeral service to preaching for weddings (with all of their distractions and spectacle), this article appeals, rather, to see weddings as fulfilling opportunities to focus families on spiritual priorities.

I’ll take the funeral . . . any day. I doubt that you could find many pastors who would answer differently. Funerals gather people seeking spiritual counsel at a time of great need; death is life’s most sobering event. Genuine comfort for the soul is found only in the promises of Jesus Christ—in the sure hope of “I am the resurrection and the life.” While funerals often tax the emotions of a preacher, it is still a humble privilege to speak God’s peace at such a critical time. Preachers appreciate the sense of need and fulfillment that are part of a funeral setting. And what about weddings? I once heard a pastor bristle: “When Lazarus died, the people wanted Jesus for spiritual help. At Cana, all they wanted him for was wine.” We may quibble with his interpretation, but his point was clear: weddings can tax our pastoral patience. . . .

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This article offers a compilation of excerpts from several books on homiletics. The excerpts treat issues such as sharing personal accounts, the work of the Spirit through the Word, preaching like Paul, and preaching with confidence and authority.

Issue 3 of this series contained excerpts from books on preaching that offered thought-provoking insights. Positive feedback encouraged reprising that idea. Below are gleanings from volumes I discovered in the Martin Luther College library. Again, some of the writers were Lutheran, some were not. I have also added a question or two to assist in the reflection (or discussion) process. . . .

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God’s Treasure . . . From a Clay Jar

These excerpts of a wedding sermon have the theme: “Picture Perfect Love.” The text from Song of Songs provides excellent word pictures for the intense, committed, steadfast, priceless love that is made real in Christ and modeled in Christian marriage.

What an idyllic setting! Gorgeous weather. Beautiful couple. A delightfully decorated church. Bridesmaids dressed in beautiful dresses. Groomsmen in their finest suits. And the celebration of love and a new, young family. This scene is “picture-perfect.” After all, this is what a wedding is all about, isn’t it? It is sight and sound and ceremony and romance. At least that’s the world’s perspective.

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