The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Heard any good sermons?

If successful, they're sacred conversations about God

The sermon. The good, the bad, the indifferent, the truly tasteless, as well as the memorable sermon, are part of our worship memories. So it has been for centuries.

• A layperson sent a letter of complaint to a Lutheran journal in 1913. He had entered a church in San Diego expecting a sermon. Instead he encountered a stereopticon that presented a type of slide show of Italy, "dancing girls and all." He noted with disgust that he had been given "stone instead of the bread of life."

• In the fifth century, John Chrysostom, the archbishop of Constantinople, used a Sunday sermon to scold the faithful few who did come to church for the supposed sins of those who were at the hippodrome enjoying the horse races.

• Acts 20:7-12 records that Paul preached so long one evening that a youth named Eutychus (which means "fortunate") fell out of a window, died and was restored to life by Paul. The writer also slyly notes that after the incident, Paul kept on talking — until dawn.

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