Jeffery Tribble
2008-03-19 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to Jeffery L. Tribble, Sr. for agreeing to serve as our guest blogger during this full week. We look forward to talking with him here amid the jets in the tub.

As you prepare for Resurrection Day, read Eric Heen's exegetical article free of charge by going to Share It! and then to Free Samples from Lectionary Homiletics.

Speaking of Lectionary Homiletics, below are highlights from this week's articles.

Theological Themes”

Arum W. Jones puts into boldface the disruptive uniqueness of Easter/Resurrection Day. We Christians tend to see Easter as just part of the Church's and nature's seasonal cycle. Along with the return of the robin and the blooming of the lilies is Easter, or so many of us think.

Jones reteaches us that the Resurrection is indeed disruptive. This event of new life is revolutionary, in opposition to the regular cycle, thanks be to God.

Sermon Reviews”

Efrain Agosto summarizes a sermon by Mary Scifres that, like the “Theological Themes” article, proclaims the Resurrection's radicality. The Resurrection teaches us that God has conquered death and that Christ has saved us from the power of sin, yet many of us live in fear of aging and with beating ourselves up for our shortcomings. Let's challenge each other to embrace that greatness of the Good News. For every moment, the Resurrection matters.

Preaching the Lesson”

Anna Carter Florence is her usual brilliantly outside-the-tomb self as she reflects on the idea of thinking that someone has stolen Christ's body. When we believers hear criticisms or deconstructions of our beliefs, it may seem to us that someone has stolen Christ's body. When we hurt from violence, hypocrisy and heresy, we may lament that someone has invaded and snatched the body of Christ. Jesus, however, is not alien; rather, he comes to us and calls us by name. In addition, we may want to respond by clinging to Jesus, trying to keep him all to ourselves, but the Spirit calls us to go and tell that Christ is alive.

I am indeed thinking about my Resurrection Day sermon, but first I need to write my Good Friday sermon. Good Friday first. Always.

Pondering all this in my heart, I am

Ever yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Our Guest Blogger This Week
2008-03-18 by CJ Teets

Jeffery L. Tribble, Sr. joined the faculty of Columbia Theological Seminary in the fall of 2007 in the role of Assistant Professor of Ministry. He previously served as Assistant Professor of Congregational Leadership and Director of the Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He is the author of two books, “Transformative Pastoral Leadership in the Black Church” and “Joining Jesus: A Class Manual for Initiation into Christian Discipleship and Welcome into the AME Zion Church.” An ordained elder in the A.M.E. Zion Church, he has served as a pastor in Gary, IN and Chicago, IL. Currently, he serves with his wife, Rev. Cherlyn Tribble, as a bi-vocational co-pastor of a new church development, the New Vision A.M.E. Zion  Church, in  Suwanee, GA.





Rick and Tom's Sermons in the Cafe
2008-03-14 by David von Schlichten

Please go to Share It! and then to the Sermon Feedback Cafe to give Rick Brand and Tom Steagald feedback on their sermons. Rick and Tom's sermons are always engaging and edifying.

Thanks.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





"Lectionary Homiletics" Highlights
2008-03-13 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to Jule Nyhuis for being our perspicacious guest blogger. Please scroll down to enjoy her entry.

Thank you also to Dee Dee Haines for additional helpful thoughts about Matthew 21, as well as to Stephen Schuette. Please scroll down to read their contributions. Thanks be to God for the array of intelligent, articulate preachers who take the time to talk in the tub.

Further, if you are looking for articles that focus on Palm Sunday and not the Passion, C.J. Teets recommends that you use Search and the bottom of Homepage.

I will preach little this Sunday because the reading of the Passion narrative will be this Sunday and is quite long. Anyway, it's probably better if I just shut my yap and get out of the way of the text.

If you go to Share It! and then to Free Samples from Lectionary Homiletics you will find Arun W. Jones' “Theological Themes” article from the journal for the Passion narrative.

Here are highlights from this week's Lectionary Homiletics.

Lesson and the Arts”

Debra Rienstra writes first of movies that illustrate the power of choices, a salient theme when we consider that the theme has a puncturing presence not only in the Passion narrative itself but also in the challenging eschatological, exhortative parables of Matthew 25. Rienstra recalls Star Wars, the Harry Potter movies, and The Lord of the Rings, contemporary myths that feature heroes making crucial choices for good over evil.

However, Rienstra wisely goes on to note that we Christians often fail to make the correct choice. The passion is full of people making the wrong choices, from Peter to Pilate to Judas. Rienstra then meditates upon Bach's (who was Lutheran; yay! Okay, I'm done.) St. Matthew Passion. Along with librettist C.F. Henrici, Bach depicts our human failing with the choir singing, “'Tis I whose sins now bind thee.” The piece goes on to present a pronouncement of Christ's mercy upon us to the same tune used for “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.” We are guilty; Christ saves us.

Scripture and Screen”

I mention my own article primarily to correct an error. I write about whether the Passion of the Christ is too violent (I argue that, while a valuable film, it is indeed too violent) and Pasolini's 1964 The Gospel According to Matthew. I then write about The Last Temptation of Christ, but, in the article, on page 58, I call it The Passion of the Christ. I apologize for the error.

I also want to mention my favorite line in The Passion of the Christ. Pilate (Hristo Shopov), when addressing the Jews, speaks in Aramaic, but when addressing his fellow Romans, he speaks in Latin. When Jesus (Jim Caviezel) is brought before him for the first time, Pilate naturally asks Jesus “Are you the king of the Jews?” in Aramaic. The Roman looks somewhere between amused and astonished when Jesus responds in Latin. Ay! Jesus is no ordinary man. He is the Word, who has embraced humanity in a way that reverses Babel.

It is remarkable that Gibson can be so subtle – how many pick up on this bit of dialogue? - but he is so visually stentorian when it comes to the bloody abuse. If Gibson had toned down the volume of the violence, a director of his skill could have made the message louder precisely through the muting, as we see in Pasolini's more subdued film.

Preaching the Lesson”

Anna Carter Florence writes that Holy Communion is a brilliant idea because we humans are forgetful and quick to get hungry, both physically and spiritually. We need this meal to remind us and to feed us.

Also, Florence sees Peter's triple denial and the crowing rooster as archetypal: all of us deny Christ every day. The rooster crows every morning, reminding us of how much we need this precious food. We repent, eat, fail, repent, eat, day after day. She writes, “Keep coming to the table. Keep passing the cup to one another” (p. 59).

These contributions are nourishing, even though, as I said, I will do little preaching on Passion Sunday. What I will do is a brief, poedifying meditation to help people hear the Passion anew. This year I am contemplating on giving people a description of a series of aural images, the sounds of the Passion, in the hopes that doing so will help people to listen to the story as if for the first time.

Learning from the rooster and striving to empty myself before the cross, I am

Ever yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Ride on, Ride on, in Majesty
2008-03-12 by Dee Dee Haines

As the people of God, we are daily confronted with challenging choices.  We ask ourselves, “Will this trip darken my carbon footprint?  If I buy this coffee, am I assured that those who picked the beans were fairly paid?  Should I go all the way back to the car and get the recyclable shopping bag?  Do I name this policy as unjust--- even when it may endanger my position in this company?  Do I have to reconcile when I’d rather just exclude this person from community?”  Choose.  Choose some more.  Choose what is good and right in the sight of God.

 

Our modern context may give these choices contemporary arenas of reference but the underlying question of choosing is as old as dust.  Two people chose to put their bite marks on that shiny apple in the middle of the garden.

 

When we hear Matthew’s account of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, I suspect that most of us identify with the crowd.  We, too, want to lay down our coats and wave those palms.  We want to see ourselves as a part of the crowd that sings, “Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” As the drama unfolds, we sing with confidence, “Ride on, ride on, in majesty.”  But do we fully understand what it means?”

 

In The Last Week (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2006), John Dominic Crossan and Marcus J. Borg suggest that there were two processions that entered into Jerusalem on the day we now remember as Palm Sunday.  One was a peasant procession, the other a procession of Roman imperial power and theology.  Jesus entered the city from one direction, riding on a lowly donkey. The Roman procession proceeded from the opposite direction with their armoured horses and soldiers, marching feet and helmeted heads, displays of opulence and military power.

 

Each procession would have been received in a different way.  With a comfortable reassurance or an uncomfortable fear, some would have identified with the Empire of Rome.  Still others, desperately hungry for change and fatigued with the status quo, may have found themselves drawn to the procession of the one who entered with different symbols, heralding the promised realm of God.  Those who stood with Jesus would have recognised the dangerous position we find ourselves in when we resist the Empire, and its power, and proclaim God’s alternative.

 

When the drama of Palm Sunday unfolds in worship spaces the Sunday before Holy Week, we will sing boldly, “All glory, laud, and honour…thou art the king of Israel, thou David’s royal son.”  It is an act of defiance.  We claim our place with Jesus, preparing ourselves to make those choices that deny the Empire of injustice, and proclaim the coming of God’s Empire on earth.

Dee Dee Haines

Isle of Man

  



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