The Seven Last Words
The delivery of the Seven Last Words has become a great tradition in many African American churches. Generally, seven preachers are invited, with each one addressing one of the last sayings of Christ from the cross. In the spirit of observance, there is a wonderful opportunity to help persons share in the suffering of Christ. Here are some helpful instructions:
- Set and regulate time parameters for each preacher.
- Limit introductory remarks. They distract from the purpose and mood of the occasion.
- Do not create an atmosphere of competitiveness. Having multiple preachers on the same platform may create an atmosphere of competition. Make every effort to avoid this occurring.
- Establish clear goals for the worship experience. It is critical that the pastor set clear goals for the worship experience—especially with regard to its tenor—and communicate these goals clearly to those who will preach, sing, or play an instrument.
- Plan for seamless transitions. It is important that movement from one word to the next be seamless, taking into account also the intervening musical presentation(s).
- Emphasize the given assignment. Make sure that each preacher is clear on his or her given assignment. Encourage them to explore their presentation and to recognize their place in the broader storyline.
Copyright 2011 or 2012, The African American Pulpit Inc.