The second part of the preparation of the sermon is a
. What do we meanby meditate? Homileticians use that word in a wider and narrower sense. In a
sense theyunderstand by meditation the
. In the
sense theymean the
and in this sense we use the word here. By
, however, is alsothought the
; but in my opinion it should follow the chief work of disposition first tomeditate or invention. We must now, however, again be clear what we mean by invention.Invention means "to go into", "to get familiar", "to unearth something" or "to launch". Themeaning of the word shows us what work we have to do to meditate, namely, "to bring out theinterpretation of the text, or to identify", "to get into the understanding of the text". Therhetoricians also use the word
. But there is a huge difference between an orator and apreacher. When a rhetorician will prepare a speech, he may descend into the depths of his ownreason or his own experience and get out of it his material for the present subject. When apreacher prepares a sermon, he is bound for his material to a fixed rule, namely to the rule andguide of the Word of God. His source, from which he should draw his material for the sermon,is the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. His sermon must form the basis of a text from the Bible. Sonow it has been told what action is required of a preacher in the Invention or in Meditation,namely this, that he rightly learn to understand his text, and if the chief content of his text issound, that he was looking for this chief content material, which he then can prepare a sermon.
Thus meditating is to understand the text and the collection of the material
.The starting point of our meditation is thus a text of Holy Scripture. For us Lutheran preachers,the text for our usual Sunday sermons are already prescribed in the pericopes, the Gospel andEpistle texts. It has been argued many times whether our Lutheran church is doing it wisely,that she retains the system of so-called pericopes. Despite disputing everything and thoughsome have even tried to introduce other pericopal series, nevertheless the old pericopal serieshas become so firmly ensconced among us that as long as there is a Lutheran church, there willalso probably be a pericopal system. And our church is doing well because she hold so tightly tothe prescribed pericopes. Luther's advice in the preface to the catechism has its validityregarding the pericopes. He says there: "...the pastor should most carefully avoid teaching theTen Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the sacraments, etc., according to varioustexts and differing forms. Let him adopt one version, stay with it, and from one year to the nextkeep using it unchanged. Young and inexperienced persons must be taught a single fixed formor they will easily become confused, and the result will be that all previous effort and labor willbe lost. There should be no change, even though one may wish to improve the text." "The fewpericopes imprint themselves easily upon the memory, to turn again each year in its thrillingway and thus to be captive, dear, esteemed property to Christian people. Other and differenttexts keep coming, blurred this way one after another, and whether a preacher teaches manythings about it, everything is 'vain labor and work'." If, however, a preacher, once he haspreached often on the pericopes in a congregation, next treats the old church pericopes in theevening Divine Services as free texts, or also explain Biblical book consecutively in sermons inthe Chief Divine Service, we apply in this no compulsion on him. Only he should, I think, alwayspreach on the prescribed pericopes on the chief festivals. For it seems to me that our hearersare not satisfied when one preaches a free text on the chief festivals in the Chief Divine Service.