This leads us to this rule-of-thumb concerning preaching: the preacher dare not open his mouth before he has found something in his text which he has never seen before.
Firet, Dynamics in Pastoring.
I thought this was an interesting idea when I read it recently. One part of me wants to agree. That’s the part of me who has never preached the same message twice. (Yet!) That’s the part of me who believes that the preaching act is a sacred moment, a communication which is not only educational but also a presencing of the living Word amongst his people as the written Word is mediated through a person. (Yes, don’t push me on my theology there – it’s in process, like so much else of my thinking, and there’s just not enough time to process it all right now at this early stage of my foray into the call of A&P, academic and practitioner…one day, one day I get to think through this stuff too maybe!)
So, anyway, there is this part of me which sees preaching as prophetic, an attempt to bring the right-here-right-now Word of God to his people. For that to happen, there has to be an encounter between God and preacher as the Spirit acts upon the text to enliven it to our heart. This far I agree with Firet.
But do I actually need to see in the text something which I have never seen before?
I’m not sure – and I’m open to correction here as always, please! – but I think that what matters is not that I see something new in the text itself but rather that, before I dare open my mouth, I have known the Spirit anoint the text for me afresh, that God himself has by this text spoken to me his Word for the people whom I serve. It need not be that I see something new in the text, I suspect, but that I hear it on behalf of this people, the specific community to whom I am about to preach, not the people to whom I preached this text before.
What do you think?