The good news of God is proclaimed. The God who speaks in Scripture speaks to us now. The God who acted in history acts today. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ is present in the sermon, offering grace and calling for obedience.
Notes adapted from Supplemental Liturgical Resource 1 (WJKP, 1984).
Excerpt from Worshiping God Together: A Guide for Children and Their Parents:
In the sermon, we hear the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We also listen for what God is calling us to do — so that we may love and serve God and our neighbors.
Directory for Worship
The preached Word or sermon is to be based upon the written Word. It is a proclamation of Scripture in the conviction that through the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ is present to the gathered people, offering grace and calling for obedience. Preaching requires diligence and discernment in the study of Scripture, the discipline of daily prayer, cultivated sensitivity to events and issues affecting the lives of the people, and a consistent and personal obedience to Jesus Christ. The sermon should present the gospel with simplicity and clarity, in language which can be understood by the people. For reasons of order the preaching of the Word shall ordinarily be done by a minister of the Word and Sacrament. A minister of the Word and Sacrament or other person authorized by presbytery may be invited by the pastor with the concurrence of the session or, when there is no pastor, by the session. A person may be sent to preach by the presbytery. (G-6.0304; G-11.0103g, k; G-11.0502f; G-14.0420; G-14.0550; G-14.0560)
The Word is also proclaimed through song in anthems and solos based on scriptural texts, in cantatas and oratorios which tell the biblical story, in psalms and canticles, and in hymns, spirituals, and spiritual songs which present the truth of the biblical faith. Song in worship may also express the response of the people to the Word read, sung, enacted, or proclaimed. Drama and dance, poetry and pageant, indeed, most other human art forms are also expressions through which the people of God have proclaimed and responded to the Word. Those entrusted with the proclamation of the Word through art forms should exercise care that the gospel is faithfully presented in ways through which the people of God may receive and respond.
The people’s participation in the proclamation of the Word is above all to hear:
- to discern Jesus Christ,
- to receive his offered grace,
- to respond to his call with obedience.
Such participation depends upon the illumination of the Holy Spirit, which is to be sought earnestly in prayer. The words “hearing” and “heard” are not intended exclusively to mean acts of sensory perception.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order, W-2.2007–.2008, 2.2010
The Word shall be interpreted in a sermon preached by the minister or in other forms authorized by the session and by the pastor. (W-1.4004–.4006; W-2.2007–.2008) This proclamation concludes with a prayer, acclamation, or ascription of praise. It is appropriate also to call the people to discipleship. (W-2.2007; W-2.2009)