Swinging from the Vine / 786 posts / 2,685 comments / feed / comments feed

the “homily”

I have really been enjoying preaching at Revolution for this past year. I’ve also enjoyed listening to others preach. We emphasize participation - not just preach and then talk but encouraging feedback throughout the whole “teaching time”. The other nice thing is that our teachings are short - more of what I would call a homily which I don’t think is technically correct but I always think of a sermon as longer and a homily as shorter. There is something really significant about learning to teach a short message, I have found it a valuable experience.

Another thing I’ve been enjoying at Revolution is the liturgical component. For one thing, we pray TOGETHER, something scorned when I was growing up. Of course, that’s kind of funny because in any good pentecostal church you have someone saying “repeat after me”… and then everyone says it whether they want to or not. 

And we always have lots of scripture present. Something I didn’t experience much in most of my charismatic evangelical experiences. The sermons were usually the only time scripture was read and then it was usually 1 or 2 verses used as a form of proof text to back up what the pastor wanted to say. I really value the liturgical tradition of doing all the lectionary readings every week. I know for many who grew up in that tradition it didn’t have much value but I think at the least, the words are going into your ears whether you like it or not hehe. And in a small group like ours it’s a little harder to tune out.

I do miss the music. We have a couple folks in our group who don’t like singing in church so for them Revolution is perfect but many of us find great meaning in singing as worship and instrumentation as worship and for us it’s a feeling of loss. Some go to other churches worship services to get that experience.

Tags: preaching, sermons, Revolution


  1. Dan — April 8, 2008 #

    Just to clarify, it’s not that I don’t like singing. I really don’t like “Praise” music. I totally dig hyms though, not so much the jesus is my boyfriend. :) I also dig the episcopal version of singing.

  2. Mak — April 8, 2008 #

    yeah I know :) but I’m not sure we could pull of hymns either ;)

    although I have played hymns from my ipod before, maybe I’ll do that more and dedicate them to you instead of Jesus hehe

  3. Karl — April 8, 2008 #

    If you haven’t read Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail by the late Robert Weber I’d highly recommend it. That short, readable book put words to a lot of our longings (for a richer worship experience, for more openness on minor points of doctrine, for communion weekly, for a sense of connectedness to an ancient faith and the historical church, for a faith that truly involved caring for the poor and hurting - i.e. a lot of the same longings being felt by emerging folks). It helped crystallize why and how a lot of Evangelical worship had begun to feel incomplete at best, shallow and hollow at worst. It’s the kind of book you can read in an evening or two, but once you do you are likely to keep coming back to it, even if you never get fullly on the “Canterbury Trail” to become Episcopalian.

  4. Mak — April 8, 2008 #

    thank you karl, that sounds good

  5. Shanna — April 8, 2008 #

    I really enjoy reading along. It’s always interesting to see how others worship. I am Lutheran who happens to worship in a more liturgical manner. I’m a bit of an oddity in that I’m not a full-fledge fan of our current worship method and I don’t like praise band stuff either. I think I would enjoy the focus on Scripture and not so much singing. I’m not fond of hymns, but sometimes I wonder if my lack of inspiration regarding both hymns and worship overall is due to the crappy church we are in currently.

    Anyways, just wanted to say that I enjoyed this post….it made me feel normal, to see that there is diversity–those that like to sing and those that don’t. I also appreciated hearing the desire to focus on the Word. We have a lectionary that we use, but I’m not sure the congregation as a whole focuses on the Word at all really. It’s more of a hear it and then forget it thing without any interaction…I think having what you described with the teaching & interaction to be very cool…..:)

  6. Mak — April 8, 2008 #

    thank you Shanna :)

    crappy churches definitely don’t inspire worship LOL

  7. Don — April 8, 2008 #

    I assure you that I’ve slept….I mean…meditated through some of the longest homilies ever! As a former Presbyterian and now a United American Catholic, I’ve learned that homilies and sermons are one in the same.

    It sounds like your homilies are similar to ours at Prince of Peace in that they are participatory in nature — I love hearing Ryan, a recently converted Catholic, former Jew who just loves the New Testament and how it relates to his own Jewish upbringing (he’s a twenty-something young man that still lives under the roof of his Orthodox Rabbi father’s house) While some young men may hide porno magazines under their mattresses, he hides a Catholic Missal and prayer books in his. And Cathy who lives on disability but manages to drive 40 minutes in her gas guzzling van to church — if she has the cash — share her life experience as it relates to the scripture reading. Or Ginger who is really the resident feminist theologian/scholar who brings the historical context that we often miss in scripture. It is when all of us share that makes teaching the Word so rich. It also keeps those of us who prepare the homily each week in check.


  8. Jamie Arpin-Ricci — April 10, 2008 #

    A pastor I met once did his dissertation on worship. His initial goal was to broaden our understanding of Biblical worship beyond music/singing/instrumentation. While he did discover the much broader emphasis, he had to change his paper. What he found was that music/singing/instrumentation play a vastly more important part in our communal and personal spiritual journey than he had thought.

    I would miss the music too.


  9. Heather — April 11, 2008 #

    Tim, our music pastor, has arranged quite a few hymns that I now can play with my simple skills on the guitar…my problem is I have pretty nails right now. :)

    But I can score you up some music, all you’d need is a guitar player :)

    (Of which I’d be more than happy to do, look for the nails to leave around the beginning of May :) )

    Oh yes…and to comment on the actual subject…all of those elements are what draws me to Revolution as often as I can spring for gas. I love the our fathers, and the interactive teaching style. It feels like church to my brain every single time I attend :)


  10. Paul — April 20, 2008 #

    the last homely homily sounds great, maybe i should call you elrond - cos you’re wise, not cos your ears are pointy ;)

Leave a comment