Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis is a pastor and professor of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary. In this interview we talk about the purpose of preaching as a performative act in which the word is embodied. The goal of preaching is to join Mary Magdalene in John 20 and say, “I have seen Jesus.”

Some highlights from the Interview

What is the purpose of preaching?

According to Jana Childers, there are many purposes for preaching: comfort, disruption, awakening to the realities of the world, correction to historically misinterpreted texts. For Lewis, however, the fundamental purpose of preaching is found in Isaiah 40:9 “Here is your God.” and in John 12:20-21, “I have seen Jesus.” 

The ideal response to a sermon would be, “I saw the Lord.”

A sermon is an embodied interpretation of a text for a particular time and place that can never be repeated again.

What is the purpose of a visual in preaching?

I think of an illustration, like the illustrator of a book. The illustration gives something to the eye. It has to be sensorial. It must create a particular kind of perspective.
That could be a literal visual like a piece of art. Or, how is it that you build an image, like through the use a word hoard. Through words, the preacher creates an image that the listener can project in their own imagination.
The visual is an interpretive move.

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