Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-07-21 by CJ Teets

The Reverend Jennifer E. Fouse.

Jennifer is an ordained PC(USA) minister and is currently serving as the Presbyterian Campus Minister at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.





Dean Seal; "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlights
2008-07-18 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to guest blogger Dean Seal for his hot-tubbing. Scroll down to read his helpfully hydrating contributions.

Below are highlights from some of the articles for this week in Lectionary Homiletics.

Theological Themes”

Loida I. Martell-Otero teaches that the concept of reign is important for understanding Matthew's gospel, where this concept is more prevalent than in any other New Testament book. “Diversity, not divisiveness, defines the Reign,” Martell-Otero avers.

She adds that the proper question is not whether one is wheat or a weed but, “Under whose reign do I labor?”

Martell-Otero also reminds us that the reign of God is not a place but more of an action.

Preaching the Lesson”

Anna Carter Florence offers a garden of nourishing and savory questions, such as: “What are the weeds in your life teaching you, that you cannot learn any other way” and, “Have you ever had the experience of discovering that the wheat you thought you were growing, really amounted to nothing bu weeds?” (p. 67)

She adds that only God can separate the weeds from the wheat. Our job is to learn about ourselves and our crop. We also are to learn that we need God, the only one who can do the harvest correctly.

A Sermon”

Larry Lange, in “A Certain Manner of Envy,” provides a creative elaboration on the parable. The entire sermon is his extended description of the Farmer, the Enemy, and the crop, and we the hearers are challenged to overcome envy and anger so that we can trust in and rejoice with the Farmer.

I am still doing my sermon series on Song of Solomon and controversial topics. This Sunday's topic will be gender. I will post my sermon shortly.

Trying to learn and not weed, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





God as a Weed
2008-07-17 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to guest blogger Dean Seal for stirring up the waters here in the hot tub.

After reading his posts (see below), I found myself picturing someone many of us would consider a weed, such as a child molestor who is also a drug dealer who is also a terrorist.

I imagine that child molestor is dying from cancer, lying in a bed, down to 80 pounds, gasping. I imagine you and me going to visit him, to care for him, this person who has been very weedy, and deep within us we can hear Matthew 25: "Whenever you ministered to the least, you ministered to me."

How do we encounter God in the weeds?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Which Are You, Seed or Weed?
2008-07-14 by Dean Seal

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
Which Are You, Seed or Weed?
A choice can be made in this context to look at what is being told in the parable's image. The image is that of the Children of God, scattered like seed throughout the world, and scattered by The Son of Man. The Son of Man can be seen in one of its original settings, an Aramaic term of modesty, as in "I am Human." Jesus scatters us, and in a place where others who are not "of the kingdom" can come in like weeds, taking sustenance and nurture away from those Jesus has hoped to have grow in the kingdom.
We should not be surprised to find that when we go out into the world, we are surrounded by weeds. It's a lively world of people who have never encountered the Word as a positive thing. Many have encountered the Church as an oppressive system, or a dull place, or something that has made their life miserable compared to what it thinks of itself. There's plenty of weeds right in the church.
But Jesus is not taking out the weeds. He expects us to live among them. God is not telling us to go build Christian compounds, and withdraw from the world. God will do the sorting at the appropriate time. Our job is to grow and prosper where we land, and to make sure we don't become one of the weeds.



A New Life in The Spirit, Right This Minute!
2008-07-14 by Dean Seal

Romans 8:12-25
A new Life in the Spirit, Right This Minute!
Paul doesn't always talk about the Afterlife, and we should be mindful of that when we hear this text. It would be easy to gloss over the words, "Glorified, you will live, you will die." These need to be defined terms and they need to be put into the context of the rest of his writings.
Just previous to this, Paul is lamenting his inability to follow his will to do the good, and the problem of sinning when he does not want to. The life that Paul is discussing is how committed Christians will live through the newness of life now, not in the afterlife.
When he talks about the Spirit adopting us, that is something that doesn't happen just once, but is continuing. It is an action in the present and in the future, not one frozen moment in the past, not the specific time when the adoption papers are signed and the deal is done. No, the Spirit in adopting us Now, to be spirit-filled Now, to be in the Kingdom of God Now, just as Jesus told us. This is the Good News, that the Kingdom of God is all around you, that life with God isn't something that has to wait until you die- it is something you can and should experience now, in this life, while you can make a difference in the lives of others.
So if your body, if your actions, if your behavior is something you cannot control, we need to open to the work of the Spirit, become filled not with the actions of the appetites, but with the Holy Spirit of God. Then that infinite life, of the everlasting God, will be here now.




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