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No Use Shoutin’ in That Amen Corner

The other day I was listening to a preacher close a sermon about pain. The preacher preached about the very real struggle with pain and suffering that we all have to go encounter in this life. In typical African-American style, the preacher closed the sermon with a “celebration.” Here the preacher resolved the pain by pointing to being “hooked up.”

The preacher then looked through the congregation and talked about someone who lost a child, but now had another one. Someone lost a job, but now that one had a better job. There was someone who got diagnosed with a disease, but there was a misdiagnosis. And then the close came with “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Too Quick a Jump to the Gravy
This sermon felt like it was jumped to the gravy too quickly. This was a jump that didn’t take into account the necessity of experiencing the pain. The emotional release will be forced or superficial if the fullness of the pain is not experienced.

One of the things that a sermon can do is help to model correct thinking. Correct thinking would not limit the need to experience pain. Sometimes our people think and/or act as if it is a sign of lack of faith to grieve or acknowledge hurt. Whether one has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or has experienced the loss of a loved one, grief and pain are necessary and needed. Yes, it is even inevitable. Some of us may even question God at these times of intense sorrow. All of this is expected and needed. We cannot in our preaching make people believe that they will not experience pain in this life.