Many a preacher can contest with the very best actor as the preacher conveys not only a life saving message, the preacher must find ways to make that message stick - be memorable and contain a lasting link into the hearts and minds of the hearers.
Perhaps Romans 10 is the critical component, for it is here the biblical announcement is heralded, for one 'hears the Gospel' through the preacher. The preacher's responsibility is likened to Ezekiel's serious and deadly message, that the blood of those who have not heard will be upon those who should have spoken.
This idea of the preacher's spoken word is so powerful that historically the 3<sup>rd century's John Chroysostom was exiled such was his preaching and his attack on the Emperor's private life.
We read of similar power with the likes of the Reformation's Swingli (Switzerland), the great revivals with William Grimshaw, John Wesley (England) ..... down to last century's Martin Luther King Jnr and Billy Graham (USA). And hundreds more like them.
It was not the words, rather the reactions and actions, the way the arms and hands created images, it was a whole package deal and they have matched any actor with such communications skills.
Parts are made
So too it seems cinematic parts are ready made for certain professional actors in certain roles and for mine, to illustrate this, was Ralph Bellamy (1904-1991) when he played the parts of Franklin D Roosevelt, before becoming the US President and when President.
The acclaim to which Ralph Bellamy bought to his roles is something to behold, as his size, features and spoken word leant themselves to such a role. To read of this professional actor's life.
But it is to these specific roles I wish to focus so as to illustrate the purpose of this article, that of the dramatic is paramount to the message being conveyed.
Sunrise at Campobello is a 1960 Warner Bros biographical film telling the story of the struggles of future President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his family when Roosevelt was stricken with paralysis at the age of 39 in August 1921.
Based on Dore Schary's Tony Award winning Broadway play of the same name, the film was directed by Vincent J Donehue and starred Ralph Bellamy, Greer Garson, Hume Cronyn and Jean Hagen.
The film was produced with the cooperation of the Roosevelt family. Eleanor Roosevelt was present on the set during location shooting at the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York.
I saw this film again quite recently and the actor's talent and skills in depicting the mannerisms, the jaunty manner in which he held the cigarette holder and the spoken word was remarkable.
The Winds of War (mini-series)
It came as no surprise that when The Winds of War director Dan Curtis was looking for a President Franklin D Roosevelt he had no where else to look other than Ralph Bellamy.
I have this mini-series and the role Bellamy plays as FDR has all those same elements that made Sunrise at Campobello so powerful as there again, it is the hallmark of the series. In the mini-series the role of FDR was critical, and it's all there, right to the spoken word.
War and Remembrance (mini-series)
Again, following on from The Winds of War; the next series War and Remembrance takes the viewer from Pearl Harbour to post Nazi defeat as Holocaust victims try to find loved ones.
Again Ralph Bellamy takes the imagery of an ailing FDR all the way through to his death before Hitler commits suicide and Germany capitulates. We walk with FDR as he struggles with his health and chain smoking cough, to fight his fourth election for the Presidency
Effective preaching is like this. Hand in glove. A fit that is somehow divinely and uniquely placed. The listeners are carried on the wings of eagles (as it were) as the message is conveyed.
It can be anywhere at any time. It might be a cathedral, a suburban church, a magnificent all purpose building, a barn, a wool shed, at the rodeo, wherever, the preacher who conveys the message in this manner fulfils the Romans 10 edict to the Glory of the Lord and to Salvation of the hearers.
My own Easter Sunday message in our local congregation Banora Baptist (Tweed Heads) – three points
1. Biblical resurrection accounts
2. 1st century resurrection accounts
3. Resurrection applications today - resurrection moments
and I provided examples and ideas .....
The emphasis after the 2<sup>nd Point was that all of this is "information" - we are called to make a choice, for the bible says "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved".
Then the question was raised as to what the Resurrection means to Christians – how is it applicable? The examples were what I referred to as "Resurrection moments".
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html