Lion and Lamb; Isaiah 11:1-10 and Advent
2013-12-06 by David von Schlichten

This prophecy has an already/not yet quality. Has this prophecy been fulfilled? Yes and no. In the present is an imperfect peace that is a prolepsis of the eschatological peace.

The poetry describes this peace in terms of animals not trying to kill each other or flee each other, but we can extend this imagery to people. In a sermon, you could invite people to imagine enemy groups or individuals getting along.

For instance, just as we will have the lion lyiing with the lamb, we will also have the Republican not squabbling with the Democrat. What are some other unities that we can imagine we shall see in the peeacable kingdom, and how can we help to start bringing about those unities now?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Laziness
2013-11-15 by David von Schlichten

This passage says that those who don't work shouldn't eat, and I can hear my some of my parishioners looking self-righteously down on people on welfare. However, this passage is certainly not condemning welfare. 

Rather, the passage is criticizing those who were refusing to work because they had decided that there was no point due to the imminence of the parousia. The writer of the epistle is urging those people to keep working.

In a sermon on this passage, then, we might consider what excuses we make to delay engaging in meaningful activity.

Laziness is a symptom of a deeper issue. What might that deeper issue be, and how can we help people overcome it?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





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 





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