Podcast Episode 12 | 12 min
Preaching During Easter
At Easter provide your hearers with a jolt of the familiar.
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Matt Woodley: In this episode we are going to be talking about Easter preaching with one of our featured preachers on PreachingToday.com, Lee Eclov. Lee, it’s great to have you here today.
Lee Eclov: Thank you, it’s great to be here.
MW: Lee, one of the reasons why we have you on is not only you’re a great preacher and we love your preaching, but you’ve preached a lot of Easter sermons. So how long have you been a pastor and how many Easter sermons have you preached?
LE: I’ve been a pastor almost 40 years, and I’ve preached 32 Easters.
MW: That’s excellent. Well, we like starting with preaching failures around here because it makes us feel better as preachers when we can know that a fine preacher like you has failed. So what is one of your least favorite Easter sermons? One that you’ve preached, not that someone else has preached.
LE: Well, I actually liked the sermon, it just wasn’t a good one for Easter. I preached on the sign of Jonah in Matthew, where Jesus speaks of this: “No sign will be given except …” I thought that was a really clever idea, but it was too complicated. I think it jolted people. It was just too complicated for an Easter Sunday.
MW: And it’s a bit of an obscure text as well.
LE: Yeah, and that’s what appealed to me until that week.
MW: Nice try though. We appreciate your effort there. So thanks for paving the way. I will not be doing that this Easter. But it does raise a point though—the simplicity of Easter preaching.
LE: Right, there’s this tension because you don’t want to just say what everybody already knows. That’s kind of a lie that folks say—well, just tell us the familiar thing. I want to help them grow. I’m not just here to give them an Easter card. But the structure of the sermon on Easter I think needs to be a little simpler. Not necessarily a simpler subject but simpler structure.
MW: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Well, that leads into our next question in exegeting our congregation on Easter Sunday morning. What are people longing for, what do people want to hear, why are they showing up for Easter Sunday?
LE: Well, they come because it is the great day of our faith and I think they come for that and to celebrate. I think they want to hear about the resurrection, but I don’t think anybody wants to just come and listen to something they already know—they’d doze off.
MW: You’ve used this phrase before: a jolt of the familiar. What do you mean by that?
LE: Right. You need to find in your text something that spurs, excites, or alerts the people to something and they think, Ah, I never thought of that before, or I’ve forgotten how great that is, or I didn’t know that was an implication, or I wonder what it was like to be there. Something that is a bit of a spiritual jolt that isn’t gratuitous.
John Stott was the former rector emeritus of All Souls Church in London, a prolific author and scholar, and a mentor to many Christian leaders around the globe.