Becoming the Chief Celebrant in the Sermon

Celebration is an important component of preaching. This is the part of the sermon where the preacher raises up the truth of the sermon to be experienced by the people. There are many ways to do this tactically, but my study of sermons show that a very common technique is for the preacher to “celebrate the sermon.”

Preacher Should Show Enthusiasm

Now the preacher can celebrate the sermon just by showing her or his enthusiasm about the truth of the Gospel disclosed in the sermon. There is nothing like a preacher who is not into their message. Sometimes there are preachers who are giving great content, but are not really into their message. Simply put, if the gospel was strongly given, then you aughta feel it. If you don’t feel it the people won’t feel it.

Preacher can Enter the Sermon World

Another way the preacher can celebrate the sermon that is related and can work in tandem with this is to enter the “sermon world” celebrating sermon. By sermon world I mean the theoretical world created by the sermon. There is the Bible world which is the historical world where the Bible history took place. There is the contemporary world, where the people live. And then there is the sermon world. The sermon world is the place where the preacher bounces back and forth from describing the Bible world and going to the contemporary world and back.

For example, C. L. Franklin in the sermon “Pressing On” in the Sermon World talks about Paul which is the Bible World, and then he talks about implications for our living today which is the contemporary world. He also, in the sermon world, uses hymns and ends with a parabolic story. Thus the sermon world is separate from but related to the contemporary world and the Biblical world.

From Narrator to Participant

Now Franklin becomes the chief celebrant by turning from a narrator to a participant in the sermon. He ends this sermon by celebrating that he will press on. We see that same technique used in “Eagle Stirreth Her Nest” where Franklin celebrates that his soul will take up wings and fly. I then pulled out a few older issues of African American pulpit and found that other preachers often do the same thing at the very end of their sermons. While this is not the only way to end a celebrative sermon, it is a very common technique that should be in the repertoire of celebration preachers.

Comments

comments

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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2 comments on “Becoming the Chief Celebrant in the Sermon
  1. Dr. Anthony R. Watson says:

    What happened to prophetic expository preaching? I think that all of the emphasis on whooping is detrimental to 21st century congregations. Our congregations need to know what the Bible says. Whooping, celebration, etc., appeals to the emotions and not the intellect. After all Jesus did state that we are to love God with our heart, soul, and ———> MIND.

    Showmanship, entertainment, throwing hankerchiefs, splashing sweat, and performing cartwheels in the pulpit is not preaching, it’s acting.

  2. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    I would encourage you to read more of the work on this blog before coming to a hasty conclusion on my homiletic work.

    Further, I do not think that “Celebration” and “whooping” are synonymous. I think that you might think that is my view.

    But be that as it may, I disagree that whooping and prophetic preaching are incompatible….

    Thanks for the comment and please continue to read to get a more complete view of my homiletic view…

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
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