Eugene Peterson captures the thought of preachers as they look out on the congregation each Sunday:
“Every Sunday I look across this congregation and wonder, prayerfully, what is going on. I know most of you pretty well. But there is a lot I don’t know. I am here every week with the conviction that this place of worship is the most important place you can be right now, that the scriptures, hymns, prayers, and sermon can enter into your souls, your lives, bringing you into a deeper participation in eternal life.”
-EUGENE PETERSON, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, p.119
Frederick Beuchner captures the mixed crowd who gather for the sermon and the difficult task of the preacher:
“There is the one who can’t stop thinking about suicide. The one who experiences his own sexuality as a guilt of which he can never be absolved. The one whose fear of death is only a screen behind which lies his deeper fear of life. The one who is in a way crippled by her own beauty because it has meant that she has never had to be loving or human to be loved but only beautiful. And the angry one. The lonely one. For the preacher to be relevant to the staggering problems of history is to risk being irrelevant to the staggering problems of the ones who sit there listening out of their own histories. To deal with the problems to which there is a possible solution can be a way of avoiding the problems to which humanly speaking there is no solution.
-FREDERICK BEUCHNER, Telling the Truth