Monday, December 12, 2016

Sermon-in-Verse: The Fourth Edition

I spend an inordinate amount of time planning, researching, editing, and the like prepping for the two biggies: sermons for Christmas and Easter.  But I probably spend, per word portion, more time on the sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent than any other sermon.


It is a sermon-in-verse, a whimsical retelling of an unknown and fictional slant of the Christmas story.

I first heard about the idea while researching the sermons of the late David H.C. Read at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church; he served there from 1956 to 1989.  Suffice to say he was there a long time...perhaps the sermon-in-verse he created for the Fourth Sunday in Advent helped him stay fresh and gave him an creative and jolly breather before the toll of Christmas Eve, perhaps...

I've done three Sermons-in-Verse here at Judson. The first one was a flop, so bad I didn't want to do another.  But my second was actually pretty good.  The third was mediocre.  I stopped chagrining a few months ago because it is not like there is a high bar for success.  Success is just writing a rhyming poem and delivering it!

This year I chose to borrow elements from Rip van Winkle and Elf to describe the rivalry between John the Baptizer and Jesus.  I think it will be a fairly decent sermon-in-verse with some faux rhymes, extremely dry lines, and making a debut this year: couple of singing verses.  All in all six minutes of homiletical joy.

Come up with a story, grab yourself a rhyming dictionary, put on a pot of coffee and have at it.

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