I am currently preaching John on Sunday mornings, which marks the first time I’ve ever preached through an entire Gospel. One thing I’ve learned is that a significant part of preaching narrative simply involves telling the story and telling it well. This came to mind the other night when I was reading an interview with one of my favorite authors, historian David McCullough. In the interview, McCullough was asked about his responsibilities as a writer of history, and at one point he said this:
If I can convey how interesting the past really was, how full of life those people really were, what they were up against and how it turned out for them, then my feeling is others will want to read what I’ve written. And there’s no need ever to trick things up, to sugar this or that, or use dramatic devices to make it interesting. You just try as best you can to make it as interesting as it actually was.
This, I realized, is one of my primary goals on Sunday mornings—to tell the story and tell it well, and to do so not by spicing it up with my own cleverness or rhetorical devices, but simply by trying to make it as interesting as it actually was. Not an easy task, but certainly a worthy one, especially when the story is Jesus.