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.