Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2009-09-22 by David Howell

The Rev. Dr. Rochelle A. Stackhouse. Shelly was born in Cleveland, Ohio the same summer as the United Church of Christ. Her academic degrees include a BA in English from Millersville State College (PA), a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies from Drew University. Ordained in 1982, Shelly has served as settled pastor for UCC churches in Michigan, New York, and Massachusetts. She has served as Interim Pastor for churches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As a professor of Worship and Preaching, she has been on the adjunct faculty at Lancaster, New Brunswick, Hartford and Moravian Seminaries and currently at Yale Divinity School. Shelly is the author of one book, The Language of the Psalms in Worship, and numerous articles and book chapters. Currently she serves as Pastor of Church of the Redeemer UCC in New Haven, Connecticut. Shelly is married to Dr. P. Gavin Ferriby, University Librarian at Sacred Heart University, and they are the parents of three children, Luke, Leah and Benjamin.





Mark or James?
2009-09-22 by Rochelle Stackhouse

I have been pretty clear since I planned my preaching schedule in August that I was going to work with the beginning of the Mark text this week, talking about the dangers of exclusivism in the Christian community. And I may still go there as I think it is a real issue that the church, even churches like mine who think they include everyone, has to face.

But then I read the James again and found myself stuck on verse 14.  I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with someone in my parish who was most distraught that a friend of hers "insisted on suffering in silence." Apparently this friend was going through a difficult time with a physical illness and family problems, and when my parishioner and others tried to reach out to her, she simply withdrew and insisted she was fine. How do you reach out to care for someone you know is hurting when they reject the caring? 

And why do so many people choose to suffer in silence, and alone?  Even, sometimes, members of churches! Not only in this little letter, but in Paul's writings, one of the gifts of the church continually lifted up is that in community we rejoice together and we hold each other in suffering, "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep" as Paul puts it. Yet it happens too often that we as clergy notice that someone has not been in worship for awhile and we find out they have had some kind of illness or other trouble and didn't feel they could come to worship and be with people:  even with the community that is supposed to be there for them in these times!

So I wonder if we as the church have not always done a good job of building the kinds of relationships of trust tha would make it okay for people to come to church to cry? 

Then I began to think about the fact that James indicates that the call to pray and care for the sick is not just for one pastor, but for "the elders." The use of this term in the New Testament is vague, sometimes seeming to refer to what we would call "clergy" (specifically bishops) and sometimes to leaders in the church. At any rate, in James it is in the plural. So now I'm thinking about how we might discuss what it means for us to be a caring community and not just have a "professional carer" in a paid pastor. 





This Week At GoodPreacher.com
2009-09-21 by David Howell

This week subscribers to GoodPreacher.com are enjoying 5 Exegetical perspectives, 5 Theological perspectives, 5 Pastoral perspectives, 4 Lesson and the Arts, 5 Sermon Reviews, 5 Preaching the Lessons, 1 Scripture and Screen, 2 That'll Preach! articles, 8 sermons on Mark 9:38-50  and here (Journal)

and 1 Exegetical perspective, 1 Theological perspective, 1 Pastoral perspective, 1 Lesson and the Arts, 1 Sermon Review, 1 Preaching the Lesson, 1 Scripture and Screen and 3 sermons on James 5:13-20

and 1 Exegetical perspective, 1 Theological perspective, 1 Pastoral perspective, 1 Lesson and the Arts, 1 Sermon Review, 1 Preaching the Lesson, and 2 sermons on Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29

and the additional sermons and essays in Unlectionary and topical files

Plus

Prayers for Worship

(See Back Issues and Journal)

All for less than $1.00 per week!





NEW BLOGGING FEATURES
2009-09-21 by David von Schlichten

Starting today, I will provide the following each week here at the hot tub:

1. POST-SERMON REFLECTION: Around Monday, I will reflect on how Sunday's sermon went.

2. LECTIONARY HOMILIETICS HIGHLIGHT: Around Wednesday, I will highlight at least one of the articles in Lectionary Homiletics for the week. I will also respond to the guest blogger's posts.

3. LOOKING BACK AND AHEAD: Around Friday, I will reflect on the week's blogging, including the guest blogger's posts, while looking ahead to what I will preach on Sunday.

I hope these features are helpful. I welcome feedback.

POST-SERMON REFLECTION:

Yesterday I preached on faith, focusing on the importance of God's faithfulness to us. We tend to emphasize our faith, but God's faithfulness is far more important. Without God's faithfulness to us, our faith is not.

I don't know how the sermon went. Useful feedback is notoriously elusive. However, I do believe that stressing God's faith over our own is important for people to hear, given that most of us tend to turn the spotlight to our own faith, as if our faith is its own discrete entity, a personal mini-god, rather than that which comes from and directs us to the one true God.

How did things go for you on Sunday? 

Welcome to the tub!

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Kim and Stephen; God's Faith
2009-09-18 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to both Kim and Stephen for their tub-blogging this week. Kim, especially, has provided several useful entries, including reflections on the importance of children and other often invisible people. Please scroll down and soak up.

Both Jeremiah and Psalm 54 look to God for help and trust that God will indeed help, will be faithful. My Bible study participants this week lit up at the idea of God's faith or faithfulness to us.

"We always talk about our faith, but not God's faith," was the group consensus.

I said to them, "That might be a good sermon topic."

They replied, "We think so."

Hmmm.

Starting next week I will be posting more frequently here at the hot tub. I hope you will join me,

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

 





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