Why Preach?

And so I come to church each week longing to hear this message of God’s love poured out for all the world in and through Jesus Christ to renew me in faith, actually to create faith in me once again. To get down to it, I honestly think the message of the gospel is hard to believe for more than about seven days in a row. Because even when you leave church pulsing with a renewed sense of God’s commitment to you and to all the world, by week’s end on Friday–and my goodness, but on some weeks by Tuesday morning!–it all seems hard to believe again. And so Sunday becomes a time to listen to the story of God’s unyielding love and tenacious commitment to be with us and for us forever that we might have faith, hold on, and keep up the good fight, for another seven days.

Preaching, then, from this point of view, is bread for the journey. It’s our weekly immersion back into the story of God and God’s love for all the world that we might not only believe that story but go out from church ready to live according to it.

That’s why I preach, because I suspect there are people out there hungering for the word of the gospel. People who have lived with a deafening cacophony of words shouted at them all week long–words, let’s face it–that more often than not challenge their identity as God’s children rather than affirm it. And so seeking shelter from the meaningless noise of the week past, they come now to church seeking a word of comfort, a word of promise, a word of faith, hope, and love.

They are desperate for the word, for God’s Word, just as we are. Let us not disappoint them. Let us preach.  

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David J. Lose holds The Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for Biblical Preaching.