How to Preach Real, Relevant, Relational and Revolutionary Sermons
The Lord’s Supper As a Revolutionary Act
1. A revolutionary act is unexpected—a surprise. It is the radical surprise. The unexpected revelation of the obvious. Something so ordinary, so taken for granted that when acted upon seems radical.
The sacrifice of Christ is such an act. This sacrifice, celebrated in the Lord’s Supper is at the same time so unbelievable and so expected. God gives God’s own life for creation, for the ones God loves. What parent would not do this? It is the expected response, but to see it done, actually done, and on such a scale, in such a definitive way is revolutionary.
2. A revolutionary act includes people, does not excludes them. The act of communion is often not communion at all but exclusion. The banquet table in the Kingdom of God is open to all. It is peopled with those we don’t know, understand or like. Christ sacrificed once and for all, and when we remember that definitive act of love through the ritual of the Lord’s Supper there can be no qualifications in our invitation to the table. We should seek instead to find new words, new languages—A thousand new ways of inviting people to the table so that a thousand new people will feel welcome.
3. A revolutionary act trusts God to reveal God’s self and trusts individuals to reveal themselves to God. The Lord’s supper generally takes place in the context of the community, in the community worship service. While this context is purposeful and meaningful, it is still an individual act. It is the individual’s response to God. Participation should never be seen as a sign of who is in and who is not. The Words and prayers before the ritual must never seek to convince or persuade the hearers to participate or not. The church is called to proclaim the good news. The church is not responsible to clarify, guarantee or double check on the Holy Spirit’s revelation to individuals. Nor is it the church’s right to demand some demonstration that the individual has received the Good News.
4. A revolutionary act is an invitation not a threat. The revolution of mercy coerces no one, believing the Good News is just that. Before the communion ritual there can be no threats about the proper attitude of the heart or the sincerity of one’s convictions. It is hard to always gauge the sincerity of ones own convictions to say nothing of another’s. Christ says, “This is the blood of the new covenant I make with all of you.” The heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about widening the circle, expanding the definition of chosen, removing the barriers between them and us.
5. A revolutionary act is, finally that, an act. An action. Not an idea, philosophy, notion or intention—but an action. Ideas only change the world when acted upon. We are physical beings in a material world, acting something out makes it real. When we are asked to “do this in remembers of me”, we are ask to do something. The remembering does not take place simply in our minds.
Preaching with these things in mind, reflecting these things in the sermon leads to revolutionary preaching.
This is a different kind of revolution. It is a quiet revolution.
It is a good thing to change the world.