A lady of one of my churches brought me a daily meditation article. This comes from “Daily Walk with God: Meditations for Every Day” by Herman W. Gockel (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1982) for July 1.
Read Luke 8:5-15
It Takes Two to Make a Sermon
“Then pay attention to how you listen.” (Luke 8:18)
During these days our pastor is busy, preparing for next Sunday’s sermon. He is devoting many hours to prayer and study in order that he may bring us some important message from God’s Word. He devotes much time to the preparation of each sermon, because he considers this one of the most important functions of his ministry.
But has it ever occurred to us that we, too, have a share in the responsibilities of this preparation? That we can prepare ourselves to hear a sermon just as the pastor prepares himself to preach it? As someone has well said, it takes two to make a sermon – the one who preaches it and the one who hears it! Whether or not a specific sermon will accomplish its God-intended purpose will depend, at least in part, on how well the worshiper has prepared him-or-herself to hear it.
Whether or not you and I will be fruitful hearers this coming Sunday will depend very much upon our frame of mind – yes, our “frame of heart” – today, tomorrow, and throughout the week. Keeping late hours on Saturday, or engaging in family quarrels and bickerings until just before leaving the house in anger five minutes late for church, will surely not prepare our hearts for a fruitful sowing of the Word.
We shall take to church in our hearts next Sunday what we put into them today. How important, then, that already today, by prayer and meditation, we prepare the soil of our hearts so that the precious seed might enter! “Take heed therefore how ye hear!”
Well might we pray, not only each time we open this book for personal or family meditation, but also each Sunday as we enter our accustomed pew:
Lord, open my heart to hear,
and through your word to draw me near;
Let me your Word e’er pure retain,
let me your child and heir remain.
I paraphrased the last poem from Mr. Gockel’s original and I used the NRSV Bible for the opening quote where Mr. Gockel used the KJV.
Later today I will post the lectionary readings with some of my comments. The intent of that post is to prepare our hearts for the upcoming Sunday Worship Service. I pray that the seed planted with that email will bring God’s harvest to fruition on Sunday.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor