“I can't say that I love Jesus
that would be a hollow claim.
He did make some observations
and I'm quoting them today.
"Judge not lest ye be judged."
what a beautiful refrain”
This lyric from REM’s song New Test Leper had me pondering about a technique I have in my sermonising. It is a technique that I didn’t contrive. Over the years I watched it happen and realised that it was working. It also eases the guilt that I have a s a preacher when I repeat myself.
I used to joke that the singer had a huge advantage over the preacher. When I stand up and am wondering what to say I cannot ask, “any favourites?” Yet, I have found over the years that a constant repeating of my favourites can be a powerful tool for getting what I feel I need to say get heard.
Somewhere in the history of songwriting, a singer realised that to repeat a line of two in the catchiest melody he or she could get the key lines across. It might stick in someone’s head. They might go home repeating that refrain.
Over recent years in Fitzroy I have discovered that a few lines of my preaching are eventually repeated back to me.
“we are particles of light across the city”
“interruptions of grace”
“stumblers and tumblers after Jesus”
“life and life in all its fulness”
“Jesus on the doorstep”
“God give us the strength to carry each other
And the right to be the one who wilts”
These are all phrases that I have had quoted back to me. For the preacher that is not only a compliment in that people have been listening. It is a suggestion that all that I have been teaching around those phrases has been heard as well.
They have come refrains. Jesus best phrases have become refrains that even the agnostic/atheist like Michael can repeat and ponder. I am now more on the look out for a preacher’s refrain to drop in like depth charges; to be remembered and ripple on for longer than the lifespan of the sermon.