I just started reading Preaching to a Post-Everything World, which is excellent. The author, Zack Eswine, includes this section on preaching what’s redemptive:
In the Narnia stories, C.S. Lewis poetically makes the point that reality is like a land that is always winter and never Christmas. But reality changes when Aslan is on the move. Ice melts, the earth warms, and Christmas returns.
Francis Schaeffer called this redemptive movement “substantial healing.” Substantial healing “conveys the idea of a healing that is not perfect, but nevertheless is real and evident“…This substantial healing engages the four basic spheres of reality – God, people, place, and self. Schaeffer observes: “First of all, man is separated from God; second, he is separated from himself (thus the psychological problems of life); third, he is separated from other men (thus the sociological problems of life); fourth, he is separated from nature (thus the problems of living in the world – for example, the ecological problems). All of these need healing.”
When Schaeffer says, “All things need healing,” I hear him saying, “Reality needs redemption…When someone hears a biblical sermon, they are meant to declare with the beavers from Narnia, “They say Aslan is on the move.”
To speak of God’s redemptive movement is to announce the return of beauty to the land of the living.
Preaching announces substantial healing to every sphere of life, and that Aslan is on the move. Good stuff.