Our guest blogger is Efrain Agosto.
2008-03-23 by David Howell

Efrain Agosto has been Professor of New Testament at Hartford Seminary and Director of its Hispanic Ministries Program since 1995.  He was a licensed minister with the Hispanic Assemblies of God and is currently affiliated with the United Church of Christ. He preaches often in a variety of church and ecumenical settings.  This year he also serves as interim dean at the Seminary.

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.


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

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