There comes a time when all practitioners of Black Preaching must take on the pastoral role in the pulpit and preach a word of comfort. Great preaching must have a moment of speaking to the common folk this word of comfort. When we do that, let us engage in great Black Preaching which is often bathed in language that is understandable by common folks. It uses illustrations that most will grasp easily. It has points that can be used in their daily lives. This is true of all great preaching, but especially those who seek to preach Sermons in the Black Preaching Tradition.
Your people come to the church with real problems. There is the one who lost his job. There is the one who is going through a divorce. There is the elderly couple struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. These ones need someone to simply “Make it Plain.”
When one is in the midst of hurt and pain one definitely needs theology. Don’t get me wrong. We need theology! We need doctrine! We need teaching, but it must be “portable” Good News. Preach it so that it can be heard, understood, and packaged together to take with the hearer in her or his daily life.
Martin Luther said:
Cursed be every preacher who aims at lofty topics in the church, looking for his own glory and selfishly desiring to please one individual or another. When I preach here I adapt myself to the circumstances of the common people. I don’t look at the doctors and masters, of whom scarcely forty are present, but at the hundred or the thousand young people and children. It’s to them that I preach, to them that I devote myself, for they too need to understand. If the others don’t want to listen, they can leave….
In the end, if your sermon is worth listening to, it is worth listening to in the language of the people. People come to your church hurting. They don’t need to struggle trying to understand the Word. These hurting people need a plain Word from the Lord that touches their soul and opens the doors of heaven. They need a vision of God working on their behalf in clear terms. They need to be reminded that Jesus “will never leave them nor forsake them.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) They need to see that God is there without any ambiguity.
God bless those that include in their sermonic calendars such plain and clear sermons. God bless those who preach such clear messages with power. Let us pray that we are that kind of preacher who regularly uses black preaching to clearly articulate those kinds of sermons..