|Proof that not all Lutheran preachers are German|
If you're like me, the four times a year when the print edition of Gottesdienst comes out are red-letter days.
Like eating Oreos (which I don't do anymore having gone primal), we all have different styles of consumption. Some nibble meticulously around the edges, while others dive devil-may-care right into the scary white industrial "creme" with the exposed incisors. As for me, I always read Eckardt first. I am a "good company man" after all. I blame Dave, whom I read right after Father General.
I know a lot of people really do enjoy the sermons published in Gottesdienst. I do too, which is good, because I'm the sermons editor. I am always on the lookout for sermons for each issue. I need them about a quarter ahead of time. So in other words, we are already putting together the Advent/Christmas issue. And so I am looking for sermons especially from that part of the church year for the next issue - but I do collect sermons year-round for consideration and hold onto them.
So, what constitutes a sermon that graces the pages of Gottesdienst? Well, personally, I like good sermons. I don't like bad sermons. Other than that, there really are no rules. I suppose the sermons ought to be preached by real Lutheran pastors - pre- and post-reformation. And they should reflect a real biblical text. And they ought to be germane (which has nothing to do with being northern European) to the season of the issue of Gottesdienst in which they appear.
We all have our favorite preachers - many of whom have appeared in Gottesdienst over the last 20 years. There are some real go-to men that make my job of finding quality sermons easier. But by the same token, there are a lot of outstanding preachers in the Lutheran world, many of whom are unpublished. And it's encouraging to read the homiletical works of some newer guys - especially given the renaissance of sacramental theology and genuinely Lutheran preaching that we seem to be enjoying at this point in our history.
So in the spirit of J. Jonah Jameson: "Get me some sermons!" Good ones.
If you are a pastor and have preached a sermon that you think would be valuable for our readership, this is no time to be modest. Soli Deo gloria! Pastors and lay people benefit from the comfort afforded in these sermons, and they also serve as helps for pastors to continue growing as preachers themselves. It is part of your vocation to be a pastor of the Church. If you are a layman (of either sex) and your pastor has hit a home run, please feel free to get a copy from him (or lift it from his website) and send it to me at email@example.com. I always check with the preacher before submitting any sermon to the Gottesocracy for consideration.
And if you know of solid Lutheran preachers who post their sermons on blogs or other sites, please feel free to pass this information along as well. And if you are fiddling around with your smartphone during the sermon, just tell the pastor you are texting the sermons editor of Gottesdienst that he needs to get a copy of this one. That should get you out of the dog house.
Preaching is a matter of life and death, a means of grace, and a mystical encounter with Christ Himself in His most holy Word proclaimed by His called ministers. Preaching has always enjoyed a place of high honor within the Lutheran liturgical tradition, and is naturally a focal point of Gottesdienst and Gottesdienst. Preaching is one area where, in spite of our many problems and struggles, the churches of the Augsburg Confession shine with the dazzling light of Christ.