The Art of Oratory

I've been thinking about preaching in the good company of the candidates for ministries in the Uniting Church at Pilgrim Theological College.

Will it last, this opening of the heart
to the Word, or will the new ways,
the film, the television, the e-mail,
dislodge us from the art of oratory?
Climbing the steps, taking off the paper clip, 
remembering not to put it in my mouth, 
the text, the Greek, the joke, the text again, 
all this, O God, you know, as well as asking you 
to make all things, especially the haste, 
respectable. As the spiral notebooks rust 
along the shelves, who knows how a word 
in the thickest part of the sermon's stickiest part, 
might just have winged its way into the heart 
of one young stranger there, and taken roost.


---David Scott, "The Priest in the Pulpit," Neil Astley and Pamela Robertson-Pearce, eds, Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starving Minds (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 2007), 97.

Images: art which currently greets people arriving at the college chapel: Wes Campbell, "My Risen Body," painted in Boston, 2006 / photos by Catherine Schieve