Feedback For Transfiguration Sermon
RFK Allusions of death, glimpses of glory: I love the use of the John text to help understand what the transfiguration is about. This is an outstanding beginning to the sermon that will connect with your audience. Think you really bring out the allusions to death in the text. This really captures the spirit of what Matthew was trying to do in this text. There is a real sense here that you have really struggled with the text and the issues in the text. The honesty is very refreshing. As, well thought that it was helpful the way you introduced the theme of Lent the week before Lent begins. Perhaps a sentence or two more for explanation would be helpful here. What the sermon needs I think is a little more explanation in the fifth and sixth paragraphs. In particular where you say there is reason for joy in the midst of Lenten journey. I'm not sure I completely understand how administering the sacraments fit in this context. I can see where you are going on this but just a little more explanation would be helpful.
CJM The Building Project: This sermon starts in a place that it's familiar to your congregation. It will help them too connect the situation in your congregation with the text. This is our job as pastor's to help people think theologically about the work of the church; whether it is a building program, or a fellowship dinner. The humor here is very good in this sermon - the interruption in the building project in particular. However, I can hear the guys who overseeing the project asking what do you want us to do? Should we stop building until Easter? We are going to leave the preaching to you. But we are going to take care of the building. I think the sermon could be clearer at the end. Come back to building program at the end. Get real specific about your situation in the church. Tell them that you don't think you should stop what you are doing. Suggest here at this point then that what you are trying to do is trying to get them asking the important questions. Tell them the place to begin to do this is in the upcoming time of Lent. There we can think of these questions in light of the presence of Christ. I think that you have to be careful to not give too much information on the tents and the Christophany.
LRG Sermon on the Transfiguration: The pastoral prayer is faithful to the text and the sermon. As, well it brought me a sense of comfort as it was being read. It will be a nice way to prepare the hearer for the sermon. The sermon is faithful to the structure of the text. However, I think some of the transitions are rough between the major sections of the sermon. In part one sections A.B.C need to be unpacked. There is a lot going on in C. that needs to be unpacked. The friendship mode and the power of God mode here is hard to grasp. It seems to me you have to be careful because the text places a great deal more emphasis on the transcendence of God as opposed to the immanence of God. More could be said about the how people hit the deck when in the presence of God At the end of the sermon I'm wondering what do you want me to do? It's not real clear to me. You are saying a lot of different thoughts to bee unpacked. It might be helpful to end it with one closing thought that is directive and ties the message together. The real strength of the sermon is that it gives congregation the ability to see the great theological points in the text.
RLD The Power of God: This sermon has a strong beginning with the storm. You effectively confront our passiveness about scripture. By using the storm as a point of reference you help us hear understand what happened when Peter and James and John hit the deck. This is also a great point for our culture that has been numbed by the special effects of the movies and video games. The point being that God is real and when you are in God's presence you will stand in awesome fear. But the nice thing about this is that you transition very nicely into the grace of an awesome God who touches you and raises you up. The comment at the end following the story about the medical doctor where you define what success means you are making a radical statement. It confronts the definition of success in our present culture. You seem to imply you don't have to do everything and solve every problem to be a success. Success is defined by service and compassion without desire for reward. I think you could unpack it and develop it a bit more. The point at the end about the power of God lifting us up is powerful. You tell us to listen to God but how do we listen to God.
SP Forgiveness and Judgment: I really appreciate the contribution SP has made to the discussions. SP has brought some unique readings of the texts from a culture very different from most of us. These readings from SP serve to enlarge our horizons. The use of stories from Japanese and Korean history is fascinating. It is clear that SP enjoys history and has a great ability to assimilate it into the message. Here in this text you go to great lengths to describe the historical significance of the role of Elijah and Moses in the transfiguration. Very interesting to think about what Moses and Elijah might have said to Jesus. Idea: Moses encourages forgiveness. Idea: Elijah encourages judgment. The idea that if God sent Moses and Elijah to comfort Jesus God will come to comfort you is appealing. The role of Jesus is unclear here to me. This is important because Jesus is the focus of the text. What role does Jesus play in the text? It seems the main characters in the text are Elijah and Moses and the text makes them subservient.
DPE The Need For Transformation: This sermon will connect with a congregation of overachievers. However the idea of transformation is a bit vague in the sermon. A bit more development needs to take place on the part of us that is flawed. A little bit more could be done on the culture that we live in and what it says about our personal worth. The ending is underdeveloped too. More needs to be done with the failed healing, the death and dying and lent, and may climb up the mountain. The ending is not real clear and needs more development. There also may be some danger in telling such a personal story before my congregation. I have to be careful to avoid making it too much about me. The last thing I want is people saying our poor minister needs a rest. In many ways the problem with the sermon is that it does not deal with the main intent of the text. The text is about the divine revelation of the Christ as opposed to our situation. As well, it does not make use of most of the exegetical work that I've done on the sermon. I may not preach this sermon. In its place I may go back to the text to be more faithful to the text. I really want the congregation to get a feel for what Matthew is doing here. I want to set the context for the congregation and let them experience the text. I also want to give them a feeling for the allusions to the death and ressurection in this text. Could add the story of the burned out Elijah. In the story God calls him up to the mountain. There he meets God in the still small voice. Could be a good connection.