A Mom as Prophet
2009-12-16 by Stephen Schuette

When I come to these texts I can’t help but feel like an outsider, a bit the way I felt when both our children were born.  Oh I had the benefit of being there in the birthing room and not outside in the waiting room where my own Father was in the 1950’s.  And I did some coaching with the breathing.  But when it came down to the birth process itself I was on the sidelines.  So when I overhear this conversation between Mary and Elizabeth I get the same feeling.  I can listen in, but only from a distance.  I might as well be mute like Zechariah.  I can personally relate much better to Matthew’s focus on Joseph’s dilemmas and how he will fulfill his responsibilities.

But what’s familiar may not be accurate in terms of the real action.  The literalness, the earthiness, the visceral quality of the “quickening” of life as the women speak, the identification of one with the other and their calling binds them to one another in a special sense of community.  Something is happening…

And it’s clear this isn’t the perplexed Mary of previous verses.  Something has already been happening to her.  She’s found a voice to express a hope, a conviction about her place, a sense of the new order and her participation in it.  Perhaps here is the real reason for piety around Mary:  she is open enough to see and sing about what God is doing, almost presaging the ministry of Jesus in her beatitude-like words, even before Jesus is born.  She is more than a vessel.  She is a prophet bearing a hope in a word, the way prophets have done before, but also bearing hope in her body.

And maybe it proves the point that this Kingdom which Jesus will assert is “at hand” has always been at hand.  What’s required is the openness of a Mary to see it and sing it.  And perhaps the lesson of Mary for us is that our Advent work is about our own openness, our willingness, our responsiveness to God’s vision for us.

OK.  Now I feel included since it’s obvious I have work to do.





Post-Sermon Reflection
2009-12-13 by David von Schlichten

I preached a sermon in which I pretended to be a modern-day, fourteen-year-old Mary. You can read the sermon at the cafe. The congregation found it thought-provoking and engrossing, thanks be to God.

This Sunday, December 20, my series, "Voices of Christ's Coming," will conclude with Gabriel.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





James Howell, Stephen Schuette, "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlight
2009-12-10 by David von Schlichten

We have a lot going on here. Be sure to look at James Howell's blog about his sermon preparation. Valuable ideas abound. Also, scroll down to read Stephen Schuette's post about Zephaniah. Stephen explores the idea of going home.

By the way, Stephen, I have seen "The Trip to Bountiful." Geraldine Page does a maginficent job of playing an octogenarian determined to return to the hometown of her youth. When she gets there, almost nothing is less. Still, she's home. The movie is full of religious allusions and other references. Lovely.

Lectionary Homiletics Highlight: This week's exegesis article, written by Charles Aaron makes the point that John the Baptist does not tell the tax collectors or soldiers to reform their lives by quitting their jobs. Rather, these people are to do their jobs in a morally correct way. Further, John calls the whole crowd, not just the religious leaders, a brood of vipers. In other words, in the people of God, we are all vipers, and even tax collectors are welcome; their change is in how they do their job, not in what their job is. The Church is full of the simul justus et peccator of God's people.

Yours in Christ,

Davd von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





James Howell's Sermon for Sunday
2009-12-09 by David Howell

James Howell has shared with us his sermon for Sunday...creative!

You can send him a question about the sermon.

Submit a Question
 

James Howell's Preaching Journal





Home
2009-12-08 by Stephen Schuette

Zephaniah has quite a list of transformations to take place:  judgments are turned, fear of disaster will be past, oppressors will be dealt with, lame saved, outcasts gathered, shame turned to praise…and then, “…I will bring you home.”  Poetically the passage seems to build.  Dislocation, people who have lost their moorings, some who have forgotten altogether what the experience of home truly is will be addressed, and it almost seems as if all the rest is prelude to this culminating fulfillment:  I will bring you home.

From what are we alienated/exiled?  From place?  From each other?  From ourselves?  From God?  From purpose and calling and meaning?  From peace or hope or grace?  From creation itself?  From all of the above at once?  What does home even look like from where we stand?  Can we even get our imaginations around it, wandering as we are?

So maybe there’s the honesty in John calling the people back out into the wilderness.  You’re lost, admit it!  Yet denial is strong.  We have things to occupy us and divert us.  John must cut through it.

But then, in the middle of it the explanation of what we need to do seems so simple.  Maybe the way isn’t as obscure as we thought.  It’s as simple (and radical) as sharing what we have to share.  It’s about not using your position or authority to take advantage of others.  It’s about not using power abusively and finding contentment when needs are met and not giving in to the craving for more.  John, for all his storm and bluster, is not a prophet who reaches too far or overdoes the solution.  Finding one’s home or self may not involve a journey as far away as we thought.  Maybe it’s right here after all.

Ever seen the movie, The Trip to Bountiful?





[First Page] [Prev] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 [Next] [Last Page]

Login - (This login is for administrators and bloggers. Usernames and passwords for GoodPreacher subscribers will not work here.)