Preaching at the Double Feast: Homiletics for Eucharistic Worship

Article excerpt

Books Preaching at the Double Feast: Homiletics for Eucharistie Worship Michael Monshau, ed. The Liturgical Press, 2006.240 pages, paperback. ISBN-13: 978-0-8146-2780-8; ISBN-10: 0-8146-2780-3. $21.95.

Each of the five authors of the essays in this work brings insights from various traditions of the double feast of Word and Table in a particular community: Roman Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, and Orthodox communities. These insights include historical bases for the traditions' practices, theological emphases, and the role of preaching at the Eucharist in the traditions. Each author also presents a summary of how she or he teaches homiletics with an eye to the double feast. All include bibliographies-some annotated-making their contributions even more valuable. In reading this book, veteran preachers will review and refresh their understandings and reframe their experience of preaching, novices will recall aspects of preparation for preaching they may have forgotten or neglected, and teachers will have the joy of peering over colleagues' shoulders to observe other ways to teach key concepts.

Each essayist offers many gifts, including those noted here. Michael Monshau begins with a fine, albeit brief history of the development of the ritual of the double feast in Christian worship. As he describes some teaching strategies, he clearly explains focus, function, and moves drawn from both David Buttrick and Thomas Long (though he fails to cite them in his bibliography!) and supplies good illustrations. His discussion of the diversity among hearers uses the MyersBriggs Personality Profile types to good advantage. He calls for preachers to seek feedback and offers proven methods for doing so.

Mulligan writes from the perspective of the Disciples' tradition of the double banquet, which she explains briefly. She then offers some of her pedagogical strategies-including practical pointers for the preacher-especially regarding preaching at weddings and funerals. Her tips for effective delivery remind the reader of the sound advice received in speech and preaching classes. When she refers to narrative preaching, however, it is as if it were story-telling instead of a text constructed like a story, involving movement from beginning through plot development to the end. Her insistence upon the importance of theology in and of the preaching is most welcome.

Halvorsen describes the Orthodox perception that there is one liturgy not divisible into two parts. He notes the sacramental use of human language in the Scriptures, preaching, hymns, litanies, and prayers, all functioning as encounters with God, with Jesus. …