Occasionally we hear a sermon that resonates deeply with the core of the 787 mission. In an effort to celebrate the art of proclamation, we decided to start sharing those with you and considering for ourselves what proclamation looks and feels like in and among the communities we serve.
A quick Google search about the nature of proclamation revealed the following immediate hits:
Dictionary.com defines proclamation as “a public or official announcement, especially one dealing with a matter of great importance”
ReformedWorship.org says eloquently that “proclamation is personal witness—a bold, risky statement of biblically-informed conviction enmeshed in Spirit-issued joy.” Their description goes on to describe proclamation as:
the product of deep study and spiritual discernment, careful biblical interpretation and relevant application based, whenever possible, on personal knowledge of the people gathered.
But John Calvin was careful to name both the proclamation and the receiving of God’s Word as the mark of the true church. The preacher may be the one on whom the burden of presentation rests, but the congregation, the gathered community, shares equal responsibility for preparing their hearts and minds to receive and apply the Word proclaimed.
In this way proclamation speaks to the heart of what we do, that is, working with clergy and congregational communities to a) better understand the communities of young people whom they wish to gather and to serve, and b) prepare congregations to hear the inspired word of God as it pertains to their own community life and the ever-evolving call of the Church in this world. And now we’ve taken to harvesting these great sermons when we find them to share with wider communities to whom God has given ears to hear. And we’re hoping to find other forms and examples of effective proclamation as well since our work hinges on exciting encounters with the new and emerging even as we celebrate the time-honored practices from each of our faith traditions.
If you hear a sermon that you think our readers would be interested in, or other excellent examples of proclamation, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it on our blog. Keep a look out for our Proclaim Series!
Photograph by: Lesley Nowlin Blessing