If I Could Preach Just Once

What would you say if you could preach just one sermon? This is the topic of a collection of works published in 1929 as If I Could Preach Just Once. The contributors are diverse, ranging from atheists to apologists. And the sermons are as variegated as their authors.

The prolific atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell provides a sermon against fear, what he considers the greatest sin of humanity. Lord Hugh Cecil, the great-uncle of C.S. Lewis’s good friend David Cecil, who, as an eleven-year-old child copied down much of Lewis’s Animal-Land, thus preserving it for future generations, gives the sermon How to Become a Christian. The British author Sheila Kaye-Smith writes of the failure of modern preaching. G.K. Chesterton’s piece begins with the line, “If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be a sermon against pride,” and concludes with “If I had only one sermon to preach, I should feel specially confident that I should not be asked to preach another.”

The book is an interesting read, though now a little difficult to find being nearly ninety years out of print. I wonder if we sought to publish a similarly diverse book with sermons from thought leaders of our day whom we might include. Better yet, if you could preach just once, what would your sermon be?