LECTURE 16 ON SERMON PREPARATION Imagination

Of course imagination is closely related to illustration. The point is that illustration
Also requires imagination. Broadus carefully separates the imagination from reason. He identifies imagination first, as a new organization of the elements, and suggests that the preacher is, in this effort, an artist, a poet, and an architect with language. It enables us to touch people where they are at.  We may, for example, update a Biblical story into a scene which is familiar to our hearers. We may also use the imagination in Biblical accounts. For example what was Mary feeling at Cana of Galilee in John 2? What was Jesus thinking? What were the guests thinking? These observations are not a problem in so long as we assure people that they are suppositions and not fact.. Imagination enables us to sit where the people sit as the prophet said in Ezekiel 3:15. Then Broadus reminds us of the resources for imagination. They are nature, art, poetry, fiction, and people and their lives under the guidance of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

I have a shelf of books of poetry in my study because poems are imaginative. Recently in a message I used Robert Frost’s poem, “A Road Not Taken.” I was preaching on Matthew 7:13 and 14, where Jesus is talking about the narrow path to glory. I have often read and reread Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” which is a puritan masterpiece of imagination supplying many illustrative possibilities. More modern authors include C. S. Lewis’  “Chronicles of Narnia,” and “Screwtape Letters” which are also rich sources of imaginative illustration. I love Calvin Miller’s “Singer Trilogy” in which he pictures Christ as the royal troubador and the message as the song. Lastly Broadus reminds us to practice. I suggest that the best way to do this is to constantly be looking for imaginative ways to illustrate your sermon in your everyday life.