throughout the christmas season the pix and i had an opportunity to attend three separate services at my home church in tulsa, ok. throughout each of these services, as well as the service we attended at kellie's parents' church in amarillo, tx in october, i was surprised by the individualistic aims of the sermons. for instance, a sermon on Christ's birth was thematically focused on "God's gift for you*" and a sermon on paul's fascinating "house table" of community ethics in colossians 3 was transformed into "your extreme personal makeover." if memory serves, one of the first principles of homiletics I is audience analysis. thus, one would suspect that educated preachers would address communal texts to the community of Christ instead of transforming communal texts into paeans to personal growth.
of course, as i review my recent sermons and rifle through cringe worthy sermons of old, i am well aware that i have been guilty of error on far too many occasions.** however, i think it is worthwhile for those of us who worship the God of community and regularly attempt to deliver God's Word to His community, to remember that God's focus has always been upon, Christ our Lord came to save, the Holy Spirit chooses to indwell and we are called to sacrificially serve a community. here's to hoping that our future sermons will more adequately reflect our values.
* i'm assuming that the preacher was focused on the 2nd person singular form of the personal pronoun in this instance. since we were in oklahoma, if he had wanted to say y'all, he darn sure would have said y'all.
** examples (mercifully) omitted.