In this age when videos, downloads and recordings proliferate we find ourselves so easily being able to listen to things again. Normally that is through an online facility, but it may be through the old-fashioned means of cd’s or whatever. One of the implications of this is to dull our facility to meditate.
Before the opportunity to listen again became available the way you could listen again to the sermon was to bring it back to mind. Notes taken or conversations with others could facilitate that. But fundamentally the need was to store the sermon in your mind and then bring it back to mind. The bringing back to mind was the meditating, through which the sermon could once again be considered.
But now it is so different because the sermon can so easily be listened to again.
There are two implications I want to ponder upon here:
- For the hearer there is an inclination to laziness. Yes hearing takes place during preaching, but there is not the tendency to store it away. The consuming of the sermon then can be quite superficial. The thinking goes “If it is a good one I can always go back and listen again. If it is not so good I will not bother”.
- For the preacher there must be a relentless pursuit of making the sermon memorable. That is not in the sense of being sensational. Rather, it is in the sense that the sermon is constructed so that it can easily be stored in the mind, perhaps with the aid of notes, and can then be called back to mind. Sermons constructed in a casual or even complicated manner because we expect people to go and listen again, are just not good enough.
This leads on to the whole issue of how beneficial meditating is in the purposes of God and how we should encourage it. See here for more on this.