Thomas Bushnell has posted a very helpful reflection on work of the preacher. Being as I’ve been asked by our diocesan bishop to coordinate the training and licensing of lay preacher’s in our diocese, I’m finding this not just helpful but also timely.
You might want to keep the whole article quoted below on file if you’re someone who either preaches for a living or listens as part of your worship service:
“A homily must serve the rite, offering words that enable the hearers to more effectively participate in the liturgy. A homily which so enrages the hearers that they leave (or stay only through a mistaken sense of propriety) is a failure, even if the words would be true on some other occasion. Or rather, such a homily may be successful, but not as a homily; that is, its interpretation of text has failed to be what it should be, and thus is no longer a use or interpretation of Scripture in that community.
A homily must be responsible, both to the wider Church, and to the ongoing life of a given congregation. Even when a homilist is invited to preach in an unfamiliar community and expects never to return, the homily should be responsible as if the preacher needed to stay around and deal with fall-out, as if the preacher were prepared to be judged for the content of what is said.”
Read the rest here: On the Use and Interpretation of Scripture: Homiletics