Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Parish Paragraphs, In Lieu of a Pastoral Epistle

March 22, 1931
The Seventh Presbyterian Church
In Cincinnati
Jesse Halsey, Minister

“I wish that you would put up with a little ‘folly’ from me. Do put up with it, for I feel a divine jealousy on your behalf.” –II Cor. 11: 1-2.

It is eighteen years ago Sunday that the present minister first preached in this church. Mr. Garvey and Mr. Besuden met him at the door. On the afternoon of the following Sunday (Easter Day) Judge Hollister and Mr. Ballantyne talked with him about the possibility of his becoming the minister . . .

This is from Ian Maclaren, my patron saint. (An elder is speaking to a young minister.) “There is just on thing that the brethren laid upon me to say, and you will not be considering it a liberty from the elders. You are never to be troubled in the pulpit, or to be thinking about anything but the Word of the Lord and the souls of the people, of which you are the shepherd. We will ask you to remember, when you stand in your place to speak to us in the name of the Lord, that as the smoke goeth up from the homes of the people in the morning, so their prayers will be ascending for their minister, and, as you look down upon us before you begin to speak, maybe you will say to yourself, “They are all loving me.’”
. . .

The acoustics in the church are bad. Two thousand dollars worth of acoustical material would cure it. But there is another way—a full house, and all hear perfectly! The hard surfaces are too many; but four to five hundred people will cure it. On Easter Day, with its crowd, you can hear a pin drop. If one day, why not other days?

The Canvass comes on March 22. The preacher will talk about money. Nothing sordid in that. The Romance of the Kingdom is tied up with its use. “Good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

This from Carl W. Petty: he is describing two ministers, acquaintances: “one gives a brilliant performance. His sermons are literary gems, his delivery is faultless. But when he is through that is the end of it. He has a metropolitan pulpit, but he preaches in the suburbs of the great realities. He juggles skillfully with secondary issues. There is no urgency in his preaching. And there is B--, his sermons show carful preparation, but preparation for an event rather than a performance. His sermons do not scintillate, but they stab into the heart of things. Preaching for him means wrestling with stern reality, asking no quarter nor giving any. When he is through you go out convinced something ought to be done about it, and that you are a partner in the responsibility of getting it done.”

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