Bad Sermons

As a public service, I thought I would provide some ready to go sermons for pastors who are too lazy/busy to write their own, and who aren’t smart enough to use the one from last year.  They follow the official synod sermon outline of “Goal/Malady/Means.”  You just need to plug in the particulars of your sermon for the day, tell a couple stories about when you were a kid, (insert at “*”) and you are ready to go.

For the laity, these can function as outlines for every sermon you will ever hear.

Sermon for the Miracle of ____ :

In the miracle of _____, we see a how our Lord gives us salvation. The poor ____ was unable to ____. He/she couldn’t _____. He/she was a drain on his family. He/she was in effect, useless, and waiting to die.*

And then Jesus comes to town. The crowds follow him, eager to see what he will do. Of course, he heals the _____. It’s what he does. Just as he heals you.*

The problem is not that you are a ____. The problem is that you sin. Because of your sin, you can not believe in God, just as the man/woman/girl in the parable could not ____. It took Jesus to heal the ____. So it takes Jesus to heal you.*

Now you are freed from the constraints of the law, just as ___ was freed from their illness. Now you can praise God. Now you are His child.*(story optional at this point – before you begin, see if people are looking at their watches.If they are, go right ahead.  You want them to feel like they’ve really been in church.)

Sermon for the Parable of the _____ :

In the parable of the ____, we see a picture of the kingdom of God. The ___ represents us in our sin. We are unable to do anything to help ourselves. That’s why we need Jesus. He is the ____. He (plants/waters/feeds/finds) us in our misery, and restores us to our heavenly Father.

Now we are able to (“grow” for farming parables/ “go on our way” for others), knowing that we are not doomed to destruction, as we were. You are freed from the law. Now you can serve God.

What’s my point?  (Besides an opportunity to be snarky and cynical? NOTE : My wife said today that I need to stop talking about certain topics around the kids, lest they grow up damaged from the cynicism. )

Sermons need more attention than simply a few good “Lutheran” phrases or a few heartwarming stories.  They need to investigate deeply the scriptural narrative.  They need to actually say something.  For pastors that aren’t clear why their sermons don’t do this, read Luther’s sermons.  Read the one for Miserecordia Domini (Good Shepherd Sunday), then read the one for Trinity 1 (Rich man and Lazarus.)

Notice especially how Luther’s sermons fail the “Law/Gospel” division to which we are accustomed.   Not that they don’t contain law and Gospel, or that they don’t properly divide it.  They just don’t do it by sermon section. And if you read our Lord’s sermons very carefully, they don’t either. But I gotta tell ya, those sermons rock like no other sermons ever written.

So pastors when you write your sermons, if you are word-counting the “law” and “Gospel” sections to make sure there are more Gospel words than law words (Because, of course, the Gospel predominates), you should just give up and read a Luther Sermon to your people.  You will both get more out of it.


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