13 February 2019
In his essay on King James 1, Thomas Cogswell emphasises the king’s theological prowess and his enjoyment of theological debate. As King of Scotland, he listened to two sermons every Sunday and was well able to understand, criticise and interrupt!
At the Union of the Crowns, the king moved south and befriended the bishops. He debated with them and sometimes sent for them to comfort him in some personal agony. Preferment was bestowed by the king on good preachers.
Sometimes he would meet with preachers prior to the delivery of their sermon to discuss what they were going to say. He had a phrase for this activity. It was called ‘tuning the pulpit’. Whilst preachers may not be happy about this kind of interference, it is a happy image.
For it looks at the pulpit and the preacher within as a musical instrument. Like all musical instruments, sometimes it needs tuning. Some tune the pulpit through study and prayer and much reflection on the pastoral care of the people within their charge.
The Lutherans regularly tune their pulpits with a crucifix hung on a pillar opposite the preacher lest he forget his purpose. But whether it’s tuned by study, prayer, a king’s theological mind or a crucifix, it should always be tuned for love and the love song which has its origin in God.