Who are You?
2010-01-05 by Stephen Schuette

Actions speak louder than words.  That’s a good aphorism for us in the protestant traditions to remember to at least balance what can be our tendency toward “wordiness.”

The physical and concrete meets the spiritual in the sacrament.  In that way, it just seems natural that the baptism should be the first Sunday in Epiphany, following Christmastide.  The identity of Jesus has been shown in symbolic terms through the Christmas story.  Mary has been pondering “these things” about her Son.  But in baptism there is a spirit and a voice that make that identity plain.

Identity…  Saw the movie Up in the Air last night and the line is repeatedly asked of Ryan (Clouney) by nearly every other character in the movie:  “Who are you?”  For Ryan he is a traveler who touches down for short periods to be back in the air, earning frequent flyer miles.  He is a mover without commitment, with an empty backpack, with fleeting relationships.  Like Updike’s Rabbit, the center, the purpose is missing.

“Who are you?” is not just the question answered in baptism about Jesus.  Through faith, it is a question that is given an answer for us.  We are named, claimed, baptized into Jesus Christ.  There is purpose and commitment and direction.  It is our grounding in community with one another and our calling.

Here’s an opportunity to consider more than just talking about it.  People can be reminded of their baptism in concrete ways.  Feel the water in the face as it is sprinkled from a palm branch.

Who are you?  How do you identify yourself?  A career?  A family member?  A golfer or sports fan or hobbyist of some sort?  You are more!  You are baptized into Jesus Christ!





Baptism of the Lord
2010-01-05 by Safiyah Fosua

Greetings from Nashville!

This week I will be in the hot tub with the texts for Epiphany 2C The Baptism of the Lord.

I write a weekly lectionary column for the United Methdist Church, so for my initial thoughts you are invited to begin there http://www.gbod.org/worship/default.asp?act=reader&item_id=48223&loc_id=733,32,47

In the days that follow, I would like to look more closely at several of the texts.

Blessings and Peace,

Safiyah Fosua





Post-Sermon Reflection
2010-01-03 by David von Schlichten

My sermon was well-received by the congregation, but I don't know what my target parishioner thought. Another parishioner said that the sermon was comforting.

Go to the cafe to read my sermon, which talks about how God's change called the Incarnation helps us to deal with changes that confront us. I wrote the sermon with one parishioner in mind, but I figured that the sermon would be beneficial to many. I hope it was.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





The importance of the material.
2010-01-02 by Adam Grosch

Some final thoughts on John 1

The incarnation shows how important the material is.  As we enter into this lectionary year, we will be following the gospel of Luke.  It seems like Luke is harsh toward material things and wealth.  I am sure my preaching from Luke over the next year will ruffle the feathers of those who have money in my congregation.  They will hear many times over the “evils” of wealth and money.  They will hear the evils of materialism.  But if I start becoming too critical of the material, I hope someone in my congregation will pull me aside and ask me about the sermon I preached at the beginning of the year.  This sermon for tomorrow where I will say that the incarnation means that the material is important. 

I was hit by a description found in Barbara J. Campbell’s sermon found on here where she states that the incarnation is the “light which revealed the precious coin that had been lost.”  What a wonderful material image!  In her sermon she also talks about how the early Greeks thought the body was evil.  The incarnation must have been a hard concept for the Greek Christians.  Platonic thought no doubt made Gnosticism so popular.  But the idea that our bodies and the other things of this world are evil and that the spiritual is good goes directly against the point of the incarnation.  Our souls are not trapped by our bodies.  Through the incarnation and ultimately the resurrection, Jesus redeems all that is good about the material and all that is good about being human - born of flesh.





Sermon for One Person
2010-01-01 by David von Schlichten

I posted at the cafe my sermon for this Sunday, which I wrote with one parishioner in mind. Tron (my pronoun for he/she) is going through a crisis and needs to make an important change but does not believe enough in tronself to do it. This sermon is to encourage tron, but I believe the sermon will help to encourage others, as well. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

Avoiding resolutions and embracing goals instead, I am

Yours in Christ in 2010,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





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