The crucible of preaching

A quote from M. Craig Barnes (author of The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life):

“The best preacher is always the local pastor. He or she is the one who is skilled not only in the exegesis of the Bible, but also in the exegesis of the congregation. This is what permits the preacher to proclaim the Word of God to these particular people. Only the pastor who buries the dead, consoles the bereaved, counsels the despairing, rushes to the emergency room in the middle of the night, slugs through boring committee meetings, and who has also spent all week excavating the biblical text has the authority to climb into a pulpit and say, ‘Hear the Word of the Lord.’ The pastor’s soul is the crucible in which the holy words form the Bible get ground into the ordinary words that are collected in the course of another week in the parish. It is out of this sacred mix that the pastor then finds some spectacular minor poetry for Sunday morning.” (from Hungry Hearts: A Quarterly Journal of Reformed Spirituality; Summer 2010, p. 14)

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