2 Kings 5: Lessons from Naaman's Healing
2013-10-11 by David von Schlichten

Forget the Ten Lepers. Focus your sermon on this Old Testament gem. Start off by explaining the story, since many in the pews will be unfamiliar with it and won't fully grasp it just by hearing it read. Next, lift up one or more of the many themes in the story, such as:

1. the important role of servants;

2. the relationship between humility and healing;

3. God's openness to healing outsiders.

What else?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





ANGELS AND COMPARTMENTALIZATION
2013-09-28 by David von Schlichten

Tomorrow, September 29, is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. I'll likely preach about angels, in part because I find the topic so annoying. It gets on my nerves how people sentimentalize and romanticize angels. Grrrrr.

A big part of the problem with most people's angelology is that they fail to connect the dots between angels and God. Many of us just see angels as magical creatures who protect us, and we write God out of the equation. It is as if angels just exist as ends in of themselves, like fairies or members of the Tea Party. In my sermon, then, I will, without giving into the temptation to be snide about angels, remind people that angels are God's agents, God's messengers, and want us to think of God when we think of them.

I may then go on to talk about compartmentalization, how legions of us fixate on a part of theology or the Church without connecting the dots back to God. For instance, some folks want a church wedding because of tradition or beauty or vague spirituality and not because of a deep commitment to God.

It is easy to be cynical about compartmentalization, but, in tomorrow's sermon, I will endeavor to lay aside snarky cynicism and focus instead on just helping my parishioners to grow in holy understanding.

May the angels help me. ;-)

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 

 





LUKE 16:1-13; PAIN IN THE DOOPA
2013-09-20 by David von Schlichten

This is a bizarre passage. Jesus tells a parable in which a crook is praised for his crookedness, and then Jesus tells us to make friends by means of dishonest wealth. Ummm, okaaay. Maybe I'll preach on the psalm this week.

Actually, what the passage seems to be saying is that many people have street smarts (shrewdness), and it might be wise for us children of light to get some street smarts, but then to use those smarts to serve God, not mammon. The crook is praised for his shrewdness, his cunning. He's not being lifted up as a way to be a good Christian. He's being lifted up for his craftiness. We Christians should go and do likewise, but in the name of God, not wealth. 

Still considering preaching on the psalm, I am 

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





SYRIA THROUGH THE CROSS-LENS
2013-08-30 by David von Schlichten

How should we preach on this crisis? What is the Christian way to resolve it? Is it appropriate for the US to threaten Syria with missiles? What does this crisis look like through the Cross-Lens?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





HUMILITY AND HOSPITALITY IN LUKE 14:7-14
2013-08-30 by David von Schlichten

IS JESUS CONTRADICTING HIMSELF? 

First, he says that you should not sit in a prestigious place at a banquet so that you don't get humiliated. Conversely, if you take a lower position, then you might be asked to move up higher, and wouldn't that look good?

Later in the passage, though, Jesus says to invite people who CANNOT pay you back. So he says to position yourself to your advantage at a banquet, but then he says that you should not invite people who can repay you. So then, are we to look out for ourselves or not?

THE ADVICE TO SIT IN A HUMBLE PLACE IS A PARABLE. We are told so. The point, then, is not for you to position yourself strategically at a banquet for your gain. The point is that the humble are often exalted and vice  versa.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS HUMILITY AND HOSPITALITY. We are to care for those in need. Serving Christ is rewarding, but our goal is not to be the reward. Our goal is to love God, especially by helping others.

What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





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