Hello from your weekly blogger
2008-09-08 by Bill Carter

Hi everybody - I look forward to priming the pump for you this week.

Looks like I'll be focusing on Matthew 18:21-35, which includes the parable of the unforgiving servant. It might also be called the parable of the once-forgiving king who changed his mind. Or even, the king who rescinded his forgiveness and sent a poor sap into the torture chamber.

You may think it's gentler to preach a sermon on unlimited forgiveness ("seven times seventy"). Yet apparently even the king in the parable doesn't follow that approach.

Hmm... what shall we do with this one? Any first thoughts?





Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-09-07 by CJ Teets

William G. Carter.

Bill serves as the pastor and head of staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He is also a highly regarded jazz pianist who frequently weaves his music into his ministry.

Learn more about Bill.





Dean Snyder and Anna Carter Florence
2008-09-05 by David von Schlichten

We are grateful to Dean Snyder for his blog entries this week. Please scroll down to swim around in his thoughts.

A highlight from this week's articles in Lectionary Homiletics is Anna Carter Florence's “Preaching the Lesson” article, in which she argues that most of us, in quoting Jesus' statement about being with us, ignore or miss the context. The context is fighting. The pericope declares that there will always be some sort of fighting loose in the Church, but Christ will be with us anyway.

By the way, I dreamed the other night that Anna Carter Florence and I were working on a project together. Wouldn't that be marvelous?

My sermon is written and will be up shortly in the cafe.

Memorization

I have been experimenting with memorizing passages for Sunday as part of studying them. I find the exercise fun and nourishing. By the way, it's amazing to me how easy it has been to memorize passages.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Agreeing and Candidates
2008-09-04 by David von Schlichten

Dean,

Thank you for your blog entries. I find especially useful your thoughts about what it means to be in agreement.

I envision Barack Obama and Sarah Palin sitting in a church nave full of people. Swirling around them are arguments of various degrees, but Barack and Sarah, at least at this moment, are praying together for a healthful, constructive campaign and election. The Father hears their agreement and blesses them.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





To agree
2008-09-02 by Dean Snyder

I am brooding more and more on the question of what it means to agree. Jesus is quoted as saying: “[I]f two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”(vs 19) The agreement he is talking about is surely more than casual or superficial. It is sumfwnevw -- which means to speak with one harmonious voice. 

It is not agreement in the sense of compromise or casual agreement to avoid conflict or even agreeing to disagree but a working through of thoughts and feelings to a place of profound consesus and togetherness.  

It strikes me that profound agreement is a rare thing even in our most committed relationships, and it is especially rare in church. It requires vulnerability, the courage to face our differences patiently, honesty, a tolerance for difference combined with a conviction that differences can be worked through to a place of agreement and collaboration.

My leaning at this point is to focus this Sunday on agreeing and its power to transform the world. My congregation calls itself a reconciling congregation -- not just a welcoming or open congregation. The idea is that it is not enough just to accept our differences and disagreements but to work them through to a place a reconciliation and unity. The power is in the process of building true agreement that transcends our difference. It seems to me this requires a much deeper quality of relationship than most of us have the courage to develop. 





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