The Process of Sermon Writing (Part 3)
November 16, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Although my process of sermon preparation involves using technology (see “Part 2” on Accordance Bible Software), most Orthodox Christian resources and commentary are still only in print form. In the first photo, you can see a few standard resources that I’ve used to prepare sermons: Blessed Theophylact’s Explanation of the Gospel of Matthew, Toal’s four-volume Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, St. Nikolai (Velimirovic) of Zica’s two-volume Homilies, and Archbishop DIMITRI (Royster)’s The Miracles of Christ.
During a typical year or liturgical season, I use one particular resource and move on to another resource with each subsequent year or liturgical season. At this point in time, I’m working through St. Nikolai’s Homilies. (Last summer, I worked through the bulk of Archbishop DIMITRI’s The Miracles of Christ). In this way, I get a cumulative treatment of a given lectionary text with each passing year.
My usual process is to read through the resource once, then read through a second time, taking notes of the “high points” I glean from the commentary text. I’ve had a long-standing affinity for writing with fountain pen since my undergraduate years (late 1980s) and the quest for the perfect note-taking notebook. At this point in time, I think the “perfect storm” for such note-taking are the tools I use in these pictures: a blue Lamy Safari fine nib fountain pen and a large (A5) blank Rhodia Webnotebook. The notes that I collect this year will be the “input” into my electronic collection in Accordance next year.
My current sermon note-taking notebook was started at the end of August. As you can see by the bookmark ribbon, I’ve filled about one-third of the notebook to date (mid-November), and I have been pretty skimpy with taking notes the last few weeks. I’m guessing at the current rate, I’ll manage to fill a notebook with sermon notes about every four to six months.
This part of sermon preparation tends to be one of the more labor-intensive segments of the week. Depending on the resource and the difficulty of the text involved, I can spend anywhere from one to three hours a week doing this “research” for a homily.