Moses the Model Preacher

Eugene Peterson, in his book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, refers to Deuteronomy and Moses’ final sermon by saying:

This sermon does what all sermons are intended to do: takes God’s words, written and spoken in the past, takes the human experience, ancestral and personal, of the listening congregation, then reproduces the words and experience as a single event right now, in this present moment. A sermon changes words about God into words from God. It takes what we have heard or read of God and God’s ways and turns them into a personal proclamation of God’s good news. A sermon changes water into wine. A sermon changes bread nouns and wine verbs into the body and blood of Christ. A sermon makes personal again what was once present and personal to Isaac and Rebekah, to Ruth and Boaz, to David and Abigail, to Mary and Elizabeth, to Peter and Paul, to Priscilla and Aquila. To you. To me. No word that God has spoken is a mere literary artifact to be studied; no human experience is dead history merely to be regretted or admired. The continuous and insistent Mosaic repetitions of ‘today’ and ‘this day’ throughout these sermons keep attentions taut and responsive. The complete range of human experience is brought to life and salvation by the full revelation of God. That is what Moses is doing from this great pulpit on the Plains of Moab: Live this! Now!”

Sermons make God’s speaking contemporary. It brings it to the here and now. Powerful quote. Thanks to Trevan Osborn for sending it to me.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

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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