From Suffering to Endurance to Character to Hope?
2008-02-18 by Cindy Rigby

OK. . . we might as well get it on the table now. Romans 5:3-5 is all well and good if and when suffering does produce endurance, which it often does. Certainly, there are instances in all of our lives, and the lives of those to whom we minister, that we (or they) can point back to, expounding on how we/they emerged stronger in our character and, correspondingly, stronger in our hope. But this text might mark one of those times when Paul is a little thin, in the pastoral care category, when it comes to those people, and those moments, when suffering does not produce endurance. Suffering, all too often, leads to unrelenting despair, to a weakening of character, to an apparent absence of hope. Does that mean that hope is lost? Certainly not! we (and, I’m sure, Paul) would quickly say. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (v. 5) whether we “endure” suffering or not. Christ died for us “while we are still weak” (v. 6) – when our endurance was low and our character not strong. We are saved through him (v. 9), not through ourselves or through our experiences. But using vv. 6 ff to subtly negate vv. 3-5 is too easy, too lazy, and not faithful to the text. What in the world should we do, then, with vv. 3-5? How should it be preached?





The Samaritan Woman and Evangelism
2008-02-18 by Cindy Rigby

The Samaritan Woman and Evangelism

I’ve been thinking about what the Samaritan woman at the well, in John 4, has to teach us about evangelism. Obviously, Jesus teaches us a lot about evangelism in this text (to meet people where they are, to respect what they have to offer, to be creative in our approaches, to take risks – we might want to blog more about these, this week). But what does the Samaritan woman teach us? Clearly (and I make this point in disagreement with John Calvin, BTW – more on that, later!), the woman at the well is an evangelist. She proclaims the good news to her community. She returns to the city and insists that the people come and meet Jesus for themselves, asking if he could be the Messiah. Her testimony is convincing (v. 39), and “many believe” because of it. I absolutely love verses 41-42. While “many believe” because of the word of the woman (v. 39), “many more believe” because of the word of Jesus, spoken to them in the two days he winds up spending with them (v. 41). And they say to the woman, in v. 42: “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves. . . “ I am convinced that the words of her townspeople, in verse 42, bring the Samaritan woman great joy. She, as an evangelist, has never been interested in people believing in Jesus because of her. Her goal has always been to get them in immediate contact with Jesus. “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!” she insists. I imagine the townspeople saying: “That’s OK, we’ll take your word for it, we’ve got stuff to do,” and the woman not taking “no” for an answer. It wouldn’t surprise me, given her passion, if she literally dragged some of her friends to the well, physically. Evangelism in this text, it seems, is not just telling people about Jesus, but about insisting that they meet him for themselves. No higher compliment can be paid to us, as those who share the Gospel, than that we have become incidental. For our testimony to become obsolete in relationship to the testimony of the one who has “met him for” his- or herself is our essential, integral part in the work of proclaiming the Good News. Is this our greatest goal, our greatest joy, our greatest desire?

 





Lectionary Texts for Sunday, February 24
2008-02-18 by Cindy Rigby

I thought it might be useful to post the lectionary text references on the site. They are: Exodus 17:1-7 (Moses, the quarreling people, and water coming from the rock), Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11 (from suffering to endurance to hope; Christ died for us "when we were still sinners"), and John 4:5-42 (the Samaritan woman at the well). - Cindy



Welcome to the Lectionary Discussion for February 24th
2008-02-18 by Cindy Rigby

Greetings! I have the privilege of helping guide our discussion of the lectionary texts for Sunday, February 24th, the third Sunday in Lent in Year A. My name is Cynthia Rigby, I am an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the PC(USA), and I teach theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I don't preach every Sunday, as many of you reading this blog do, but I do preach a lot for a professor-type. I myself will be preaching on the 24th, and am just beginning my sermon. I look forward to walking through the week together, as we study, reflect, support and inspire each other, and claim our common calling of proclaiming the Word. I'll be posting some of my reflections later on today (but it might not be until this evening, since it's presidents' day and I've got my two kids, who are off from school!). Meanwhile, please feel free to post any comments you have. Again: welcome! All best, Cindy





Tom, Rick, Dave and "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlights
2008-02-15 by David von Schlichten

It has been therapeutic fun listening to Tom Steagald and Rick Brand engage in intelligent discussion of Nicodemus here in the hot tub. In addition, our guest blogger, David Carr, has offered some helpful comments while soaking in the tub.

These conversations have me thinking of preaching on both Abraham and Nicodemus. Genesis 12 and John 3 both contain a call narrative. We do not understand always to what God is calling us, but we can still answer the call, at least by undertaking the journey.

For more guidance, go to Share It! and click on “Free Samples from Lectionary Homiletics” to read Janyce C. Jorgensen's exegetical article on John 3 (I remember Janyce from Gettysburg Seminary.).

On a related note, here are highlights from this week's articles in Lectionary Homiletics.

Pastoral Implications”

Lisa M. Hess writes about how, like Nicodemus, we often don't understand what Christ is teaching us, but “[t]he text urges us to keep listening in that kind of place or an uncomfortable time, maybe even for a while” (p.23). Further, even though we are struggling with understanding, we have the assurance that “[ . . . ] God smiles in the holy darkness. The world is in good hands, no matter what” (p.23).

Sermon Reviews”

Dale Rosenberger writes of a sermon by David Leininger that encourages mainstream Christians who reject the evangelical “born again” doctrine to give it a second chance. We Christians tend to get stale. There is wisdom in taking seriously the idea of regularly starting over, of regularly making a decisive, new beginning.

Preaching the Lesson”

Anna Carter Florence also considers the phrase “Born again.” Among other things, she reflects on the idea of being born of the Spirit. Florence notes that being born of the Spirit is not something we can do ourselves (you cannot bear yourself). Being born is painful, difficult, so we can assume that such will be the case when we are born of the Spirit. This activity is hard and not something we can do on our own; being born of the Spirit, though, is the only way we can be born to “God's realm of new possibilities” (p.26).

I have the flu, and these swirling, warm waters of wisdom from my colleagues are therapeutic.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





[First Page] [Prev] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 [Next] [Last Page]

Login - (This login is for administrators and bloggers. Usernames and passwords for GoodPreacher subscribers will not work here.)