Stephen Schuette; "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlight
2009-11-11 by David von Schlichten

Scroll down to read Stephen Schuette's reflection on his sermon this past Sunday. It is quite moving. Thank you, Stephen, for sharing a painful experience and how you responded to it.

"Theological Themes"

In Lectionary Homiletics, Luke Bouman writes that, rather than fixating on the logistics of the endtimes, a better way to respond to Mark's little apocalypse is to evaluate our priorities. Do we invest our worth and trust in buildings or Christ?

I don't know what I'm preaching on this Sunday. At the moment, I'm going through a bout of, "I'm a failure as a pastor, and I want to quit yesterday." Indeed, someday I will leave the ministry, at least parish ministry. I just don't have what it takes. I am working on a PhD in English; as soon as I can get a job teaching college, I will leave the parish.

Maybe there's a sermon in that. Perhaps I'm being torn down and rebuilt?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





...In Light of Circumstances
2009-11-09 by Stephen Schuette

In light of circumstances I rethought the sermon when we discovered the Church had been burglarized Thursday night and the communion chalice and plate were among the items missing.  Beyond that it was simply replaceable electronic stuff.  While acknowledging the loss I tried to move forward with radical faith with the widow and her "mite" as the example.  I spoke about the loss of the entire temple in 70 AD, probably known to Mark as he wrote, and how the followers of Jesus affirmed that the presence of God was not in the temple but in Jesus himself, and that this continued to be a living presence which no one could take from them.  While those with long robes were probably no where to be found after the loss, my hunch is that the widow was still there.  While the congregation continues to be disturbed by the event many said they found the sermon reassuring.



Post-Sermon Reflection
2009-11-08 by David von Schlichten

I didn't receive much feedback on the sermon. Such is often the case, isn't it? How can we elicit feedback on sermons?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





"Lectionary Homiletics" Highlight
2009-11-04 by David von Schlichten

"Sermon Reviews"

Audrey Schindler summarizes "The One to Watch" by Barbara Brown Taylor. Taylor notes the similarities between the poor widow and Jesus: Both give their all. Taylor also notes that Jesus points out a person whom most people at the Temple were overlooking.

This idea of Jesus noticing the overlooked is probably the focus I will give Sunday's sermon.

Then again, last night one of my parishioners died suddenly, leaving behind his wife of 60-plus years. Last night in the ER she sat in a wheelchair, barely able to hear and see because of her health, shocked over the death of her beloved, newly widowed . . .





Where Is God In This?
2009-11-04 by Guy Kent

Ruth 3: 1-5; 4: 13-17

A pastor friend called me about this Sunday's text, specifically the Ruth reading. His church, as does mine, uses the excellent Seasons of the Spirit Sunday school literature. He, as do I, preaches on the text that lectionary based literature focuses on each Sunday. This Sunday it's the Ruth reading.

Where is God in all this?” he asked.

I thought back on the story. Here is Naomi arranging for her daughter-in-law to manipulate Boaz into marriage. This is an earthy story; it is a story of the nitty gritty of life, a story of survival and that never ending quest to assure the next generation occupies a better position that the present one.

Where is God in this?

I remember so vividly the day they came to my office. Their home was three houses up from the church. Occasionally they contributed to the church financially, but they, during the decade I was the pastor of that church, never attended a service. Now here they sat. They wanted to get married and has asked me, “the neighborhood pastor,” to officiate at the ceremony to be held in their garden.

They had lived together for fifteen years. They were not married. I could not help but ask: “After fifteen years of living together, why do you want to get married now?”

She looked at me with a look that communicated she was surprised at my ignorance. “Because, I told you a couple of weeks ago my daughter is having a baby. We thought it just wouldn't look right for her if we weren't married.”

I didn't ask the obvious question of looking right for the daughter. Here they were, asking me to marry them because they wanted it to look right for the yet to be born grandchild.

Where is God in this? Did an unborn fetus lead them to the church? Where is God in this?

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son.... they named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Where is God in this?

Most of us never experience the big miracles of life – the parting of the sea; the healing of the leper; the blind made to see. But all of us live in the nitty gritty, in the stories of love, of scheming, of survival. Most of us live where God is.





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