The price to pay (pardon the use of a consumer-centric metaphor) for a turn-the-world-upside-down sermon - or, more humbly, one that makes strides in that general direction - is that of offense. In fact, absent that, one might question whether the sermon required preaching at all.
What will I do if a parishioner walks out during my sermon (presumably out of provocation rather than boredom)? How will I retain my composure to continue proclaiming the gospel? What kind of mental exercise will I need to practice in order to give the appearance of not losing my train of thought, getting nervous, or having any other visible response to the one seeking to exit (I originally used the word "absconder," but it seems to have a sly connotation to it - am I correct?)? Perhaps some deep breathing or a silent and speedy recitation of The Little Engine that Could mantra. . . these thoughts used to occupy my time (because neurotic personalities must have something about which to obsess).
O Christ, the Word Incarnate, O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth, unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky;
we praise thee for the radiance that from the scripture's page,
a lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.
Today, I consider: What is it like to be the parishioner who stays after a parishioner has walked out? When the peace is passed, the feelings of guilt surface as I recognize my own complicity (I laughed at the moment in the sermon which seems to have led you out). Communion is broken. (Click here for another viewpoint.)
And today, I wonder: what is it like to be the parishioner who walks out? This I cannot say. I have not been there.
The Church from our dear Master received the word divine,
and still that light is lifted o'er all the earth to shine.
It is the chart and compass that o'er life's surging sea,
mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides, O Christ, to thee.
Tomorrow's liturgy includes sacramental healing.
O make thy Church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,
to bear before the nations thy true light as of old;
O teach thy wandering pilgrims by this their path to trace,
till, clouds and darkness ended, they see face to face.
- Hymn Text: William Walsham How (1823-1897), alt.