This past weekend I was listening to the radio program “On the Media” and heard a very interesting piece about Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech/sermon. One thing especially captured my attention, how the sermon took shape as it was delivered. The commentator described how Dr King began preaching from a “blueprint” and then as he became aware of the people’s reaction (or even perhaps lack of reaction) he departed from his notes.
This has me wondering about what is going on in our churches (and other places) as the preacher is preaching. Or said another way, as the proclaimer is proclaiming. Is the practice of proclamation a practice in which the proclaimer alone is active or is it a practice in which both the one delivering the proclamation and the one(s) receiving the proclamation are engaged? Is it a “conversation?” Does two-way communication happen? Please do not hear me making the case for only impromptu or extemporaneous sermons. But do hear me asking if proclamation is a “living event.” You might even ask how is it an inspired event.
I am not sure today if I have adequately communicated what is on my mind and I am sure others have discussed and written about the preaching event better than I have. Nevertheless, I wanted to ask myself and you these questions about proclamation as a spiritual practice and about how all those present are engaged in the practice.
ps – you can find the “On the Media” episode at –