Earth Day
2008-04-22 by CJ Teets

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CONFIRMATION Proclamation
2008-04-21 by David von Schlichten

I have confirmation this Sunday and am thinking I will do a topical sermon on confirmation. What do confirmands need to hear?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-04-21 by CJ Teets

Steven D. Paulson

Steven is Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary. He went to college to study aeronautical engineering but took a "wrong" turn, ending up in seminary. He worked his way through seminary as a psychiatric counselor, and now he is our guest lectionary preaching blogger for the week.

Steven's doctor of theology degree is from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. He served as a parish pastor, spent seven years as assistant professor of religion at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, before joining the Luther faculty in 1998.





Brian Blount, Dee Dee, Tom, Peter, and ANYTHING in My Name
2008-04-17 by David von Schlichten

What a time in the tub we've been having. Brian Blount, our guest blogger, has given us wise meditations on the Johannine text, and Dee Dee Haines responded with pastoral eloquence. Please scroll down to soak up these poedifying entries.

Tom Steagald wants to know if anyone will be preaching on the passage from 1 Peter, especially the spiritual milk image. His decision to preach on that passage this Sunday as he officiates at two baptisms sounds like an inspired move. 

By the way, you can read an article on John 14 by Priscilla Pope-Levison by going to Free Samples from Lectionary Homiletics.

I find myself thirsting for guidance with Jesus' promise that he will do anything we ask for in his name. He makes that statement or a similar one thrice in John's farewell discourse.

In Lectionary Homiletics, Christie Cozad Neuger teaches that we need to understand the "ask for anything" promise vis-a-vis its context, which is that Christ is promising the disciples that they will be able to continue his ministry once he is "gone." The "ask for anything" promise does not mean that Christ will heal us of diseases every time we ask in his name and so forth. The promise means that we believers will receive help from Christ to continue his ministry.

This interpretation of the "ask for anything" promise seems reasonable, but a small, cynical part of me wonders, "Is such an interpretation an example of us Christians letting God, or at least the Bible, off the hook?"

I have a beloved parishioner, George, a 91-year-old man who is very devoted, who has said repeatedly, "But the verse says we can ask for ANYTHING." In other words, he finds my interpretations, which are similar to the one from Christie, unsatisfactory. Is George right?

I don't know what I will preach on this Sunday. Passover starts this weekend, so I may tie my proclamation this Sunday to that mysterious and profound story of salvation from slavery.

Preparing to listen to the pope's homily while sitting in the tub, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Catechesis and Comfort
2008-04-16 by Tom Steagald

Anyone preaching on I Peter this week? I am baptizing two infants and am thinking the catechesis of Peter might be just what I need to do. I am thinking of focusing on the "pure milk" in the text rather than the "living stone." In Greek the word for pure is adolos, an alpha-privitive form of dolos, used in verse one for guile. Pure milk, then, is "not-guile" milk, guileless...without deceit or cunning.

Verse one, I take it, reveals the several agents that pollute spiritual milk, and I am thinking about all the hateful preaching I heard as a boy and new believer: racial prejudice, anti-communist fear-mongering, slander of other religious tradtions--not a pure or spiritual milk for infants in Christ. I may use the Jeremiah Wright story...having gotten one of those political emails about how we cannot support a candidate who sat for years under such preaching (as if the Christmas sermon was the only tone sung from that pulpit)... only to  suggest that many of us, and not just in the south, have for long years listened to angry preachers. Philip Yancey's Soul Survivor sounds, in the introduction, many of those same themes.

All the "then/now" implications seem fertile ground for this baptismal sermon, as those bringing the infants pledge to serve this pure milk to their children.

Also, in both John and Peter there is the emphasis on the place God creates for those either with no other place or who come from another place. Safe with other believers, meaning safe to be who we distinctively are, is at the heart of both baptism (birth) and death. As Luther said, Baptism is dress rehearsal for death.





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