Sermon Ideas for Advent 4B on December 18, 2011
2011-12-14 by David von Schlichten

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16: David wants to build God a house, but God doesn't really care about having one. Instead, God promises to make David's house last forever. When do we offer God something that God did not ask for? How does God respond? What does God give us that exceeds our expectations?

Christ's birth exceeds our expectations. Christ does not just come into the world to save us from the Romans. Christ comes to save us from death.

Romans 16:25-27: Christ's coming is the revelation of the secret long held. That is, God's salvation project is revealed by degrees, revealed in stages. How is that project continuing to be revealed? For instance, is the inclusion of homosexuals a new stage of the salvation project of God?

Luke 1:26-38: You are Mary. The angel comes to you and declares that you are the bearer of God to the world. How do you respond? How will your life be different? How do you nurture and raise Christ?

What thoughts do you have?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





4 Advent is not Pre-Christmas Christmas; Value of Pageants
2011-12-11 by David von Schlichten

What would it be like if we celebrated Advent in, say, August? Most us in the Church tend to think of Advent as preparing for Christmas, but Advent, as many of us chuch leaders know, is really a season that focuses on the comings of Christ, past, future, and present.

It's tempting to make the Fourth Sunday of Advent the de facto beginning of Christmas (In fact, at my congregation, we're having our Christmas pageant that day.). However, the Fourth Sunday of Advent is, well, part of Advent. How do we proclaim an Advent message that day without falling into a Christmas message, or do we not bother trying?

CHRISTMAS PAGEANTS: I'm going to sound like I'm raising my Ebenezer Scrooge here, but let's face it: pageants tend to be trite, and the kids are almost never loud enough, except when they're singing off-key. So what is the value of Christmas pageants, besides providing an opportunity for people to gush over our children's cuteness? I'm not saying that we shouldn't have pageants. I'm just wondering what you think of them.

Christmas pageants are often in lieu of the sermon, but do they function homiletically?

What thoughts do you have? Feel free to email them to me or to submit a post for possible publication here.

Counting calories, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Sermon on Advent for December 11, 2011
2011-12-10 by David von Schlichten

 

Sermon on Advent

for St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church,

Youngstown, PA

with Sunday, December 11,  2011

Third Sunday in Advent, Year B

with the Reverend Dr. David von Schlichten

(word count: 816)

 

Get Ready to Sing, Part Three

 

            Today we’re concluding a sermon series. We have been hearing about Marison, a forty year-old working mother of two. Marison is thankful for her blessings but nevertheless has been feeling empty, lonely, and unfulfilled. Her pastor, Pastor Beatrice, suggested that Marison needs to find her song, meaning her calling, her true self. One night, Marison received a note which read, “Meet me Saturday at 4 PM. Love, Jesus.” Meanwhile, a mentally ill homeless man named Vic heard a voice tell him to go to Wal-Mart/Giant Eagle on Saturday at 4 o’clock to meet Jesus.

            Now it is Saturday at 4 PM. Marison pulls into the store parking lot. She is there to buy milk. She wonders, “Am I about to meet Jesus here, at the store, while buying milk?” She sees Vic standing out front. Everyone knows Vic. He is seen throughout town. He is greasy and smelly. He has black hair and a beard. He mumbles to himself and sometimes says strange things. Marison sits in her parked car. She drums the steering wheel with her fingers. “I don’t want to deal with Vic,” she thinks. “Maybe I’ll just drive away.” However, she wonders if God wants her to interact with Vic. She sighs. She gets out of the car and heads toward him.

            She walks toward him. He says nothing. She walks past him and is about to enter the building when he says, “Hey!” Her heart speeds up. She turns around. His face is grimy. His hair is greasy. His beard has crumbs in it. His clothes look like they have motor stains on them. He stinks of body odor and old clothes. Her stomach turns.

            He points at her. His fingernail is long and black from dirt. He says, “You’re Jesus.”

            Marison puts her hand to her chest and says. “Me?” She laughs a little. “Not even close.”

            “No,” he says, “I’m always right. You’re Jesus our Lord, and so am I.”

            She stares at him. He stares back. “What do I do now?” she thinks. “Walk away? Talk to him more? Give him money?” She finally says, “May I buy you something to eat?”

            His eyes widen. He walks away quickly. Marison calls after him, but he does not stop.

            A woman passing by Marison on his way into the store says, “Forget him. He’s crazy.”

            At five, while she’s feeding the cats, she gets a call from Pastor Beatrice.

            “Well?” Pastor Beatrice asks. “What happened?” Marison tells her.

            “Hm,” Pastor Beatrice says. “That kind of makes sense.”

            “How so?” Marison asks.

            Pastor Beatrice says, “Vic is sort-of right. Jesus is within you and him. He is within all of us while also being in heaven. So when he said that you and he are Jesus, that was sort-of true.”

            “I suppose,” Marison says. “But what do I do with that?”

            Pastor Beatrice, “I’m not sure. Maybe what you do with that is start treating yourself and others the way you would treat Jesus.”  

            The next morning during church is the pageant. Marison’s two boys are in it. One is a shepherd, the other a wiseman. Her husband goes with her to church, one of only a couple times a year he actually attends. Marison thinks about how she likes the idea of the pageant but gets frustrated with it because the kids are never loud enough. She sits there and watches. She thinks about all the people who are there today but who never come any other time.

            In her head, she hears Vic saying, “All of these people are Jesus, too.” Suddenly being in that hot room with a bunch of people who never coming to church watching a pageant she has trouble hearing is full of holiness. It all suddenly seems miraculous, like she’s at the manger. “Christ is all around me,” she thinks.

            Later in the service, during the offering, everybody sings “What Child Is This.” At first, Marison thinks, “Why are we singing this hymn during the offering? What does this have to do with offering?” Then she hears the first line of the third verse, “So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh.” Of course! That’s what we’re doing now. We are bringing our incense, gold, and myrrh to Jesus by giving our offering.”

            That hymn, “What Child Is This” sticks with her for the rest of the day. The line, So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh” plays through her head over and over. Bring him incense, gold, and myrrh. Bring him incense, gold, and myrrh.

            On Christmas Eve, she says to Pastor Beatrice, “I think I found my song.”

            Pastor Beatrice’s face lights up. “And?” she asks.

            Marison says, and you say, and I say, “And Christ is all around me, and I have a lot of incense, gold, and myrrh to give.”

            Pastor Beatrice then asks, “Yes, and how will you do that?”






Sermon Ideas for December 11, 2011, 3rd Sunday of Advent
2011-12-07 by David von Schlichten

Isaiah 61: This eschatological passage offers hope for the future and challenges us to pattern our lives after God and that future. For instance, God loves justice (v.8), so we should, too. For another example, righteousness and praise will spring up before all nations (v.11); therefore, let's get busy working on making that vision a reality.

How do we have patience as we wait for that final consummation, for the End? A watched pot never boils. A watched God never acts? In other words, when it comes to God, we do well to exorcise our impatience by getting busy helping others. Stop watching the pot and get cooking! God will act when God is good and ready.

The passage gives us hope by promising us an extraordinary future. I had a parishioner on Sunday say that hope leads to disappointment. I understand where the parishioner is coming from, but, with God, our ultimate outcome is always wondrous. Thus, our hope in our final future will never lead to disappointment.

Think about the idea of hope leading to disappointment. How would you respond to such an assertion?

Magnificat: Prophet Mary declares the radical socioeconomic inversion. How should we, who are wealthy (and most of us reading this are), respond to such a prophesy? How can I be wealthy and a servant of God who truly cares for the poor and does not just do lip-service to helping the poor while I eat yet another Big Mac?

1 Thessalonians 5 calls us to be joyful and thankful always. This passage is calling us, not to some sort of irritating bubbliness that minimizes the world's sorrow, but rather to a deep confidence in God's goodness prevailing over evil. What else does this passage call us to?

John 1: Jesus is God, not John or any other human. Jesus saves, not anyone else. Jesus is the Messiah, not any football team, political leader, billionaire, singer, or actress.

What thoughts do you have?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Initial Thoughts for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B, December 11, 2011
2011-12-04 by David von Schlichten

Mary as Prophet: In the Magnificat, Mary functions prophetically. Her liberation-theology declaration of God lifting up the lowly, hungry, and poor while casting down the rich, haughty, and powerful is quintessentially prophetic. It could be illuminating to lift up the prophetic role of Mary, since many people do not think of her that way.

As the Orthodox say, Mary is the "Theotokos," the God-bearer. In what ways are we God-bearers?

1 Thessalonians 5 challenges us to rejoice always. How do we do that in the face of so much stress and bad news? We humans are addicted to complaining and worrying, and some of that behavior is justified. Moreover, we are not to be Pollyannas. What does it mean, then, to rejoice always?

John 1: John the Baptist is not Christ. John exists to point the world to Christ and to prepare people for Christ's Advent.

How do we draw attention away from Christ and toward our self-aggrandizement? We are to be John, but we often try to get Jesus-caliber attention. This dynamic could be a valuable homiletical point.

What thoughts do you have?  Feel free to email me at drdlphn@yahoo.com or to submit a post for possible publication here.

Drinking egg nog,  I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





[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 [Next] [Last Page]

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