The story is told, most likely an urban legend, of a woman found in her car with the windowsrolled up, her eyes closed and
both hands firmly clutching the back of her head. When paramedics were finally called to the scene, the woman told them that she had been shot and had for the past hour been holding in her brains. Upon further examination it became clear that a Pillsbury biscuit canister had exploded on the back seat depositing a sizeable wad of dough mix on the back of her head.
A pretty crazy story to be sure. But it did get me thinking whether some of the sermons we get to hear end up producing a similar effect, whereby a sizeable wad of “oughts”’ and “shoulds” of “dos” and “don’ts” achieve a direct hit and the hearers come away little short of concussed.
What, I wonder, would make for a better sermon mix? Going back to the drawing board, the apostle Paul wrote: “… I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2v1-2
John Calvin, the French reformer, wrote at the start of his Christian Institutes: “Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts the knowledge of God and of ourselves”. And where is the fullest explanation of God? In Jesus Christ. And where is the fullest explanation of man? In Jesus Christ.
So then, perhaps a good litmus test for exploding sermons would be, in the end, did I get to see Jesus Christ?