Riding the Waves to Eternity

Hangin' with the Cosmic Surfer

Skip to: Content | Sidebar | Footer

I take as my text…

7 May, 2018 (15:04) | Writing | By: Ian Burdon

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of writing the first draft of a novel. The protagonist is a priest and I spent part of the weekend drafting a sermon. I haven’t done this for a long time, since 1979 I think, so it was fun rather than a chore. In the process of researching I looked at aspects of the text, from Mark’s gospel, in the original Greek which itself is based on an Aramaic source. My first degree is Divinity, but I have no expertise in either of those languages, so I was using secondary sources. And it turns out I had inadvertently stumbled onto a hornets’ nest of interpretation of a term.

I ran a rough translation past an ordained friend of mine, who does have linguistic expertise, who commented

I think you are overestimating the level of preparation and thought – never mind theological knowledge – which goes into 90% or probably far more sermons!

I was reminded of something similar said by the late Canon Roland Walls, bemoaning that a parish is too busy to be conducive to the thought and preparation required. For various reasons to do with the story, this excuse is not available to my protagonist; neither, for reasons to do with character and plot, is it available to me.

The passage in question culminates in Mark 2.27-28

Meantime, I prepared a PDF of a series of interconnected stories I finished a year ago, and sent it to my niece. I started reading them, and the year’s distance makes them interesting again, as though I were reading something written by someone else. I spotted a few things I might go back in and fix, but I thought they stand up pretty well, though I say so myself.



Comment from Alex Mitchell
Time May 8, 2018 at 2:50 am

Ian; There may have been a time when there was adequate time available to clergy for sermon preparation, but that time passed many decades ago. As the role of ministers expanded to include things like frequent and endless meetings – both ex and in cathedra – along with a remarkable plethora of other incredibly time wasting demands, the study and thought required for good sermon preparation was shunted aside. One could easily spend 30 hours or more in weekly worship preparation, but that is a luxury afforded few preachers. This has led to emergence of something of a growth industry in printed, “preaching guides” and periodicals along with a huge amount of material being available online. Much of it free, some of it paid – most of it of questionable quality.