Sermon for Advent 4 on Isaiah 7
2007-12-21 by David Howell

Alan Meyers is already bringing us some thoughts for the First Sunday after Christmas.

David von Schlichten has a sermon for Advent 4 on Isaiah 7 in the Sermon Feedback Cafe. He also has a sermon for Christmas Eve

Please give him some feedback. Go to HOMEPAGE and to Share It! and click Submit Your Own.





Dark Thoughts at Christmas
2007-12-20 by Alan Meyers

          I don't preach regularly, but on December 30 I have agreed to supply the pulpit at the congregation of which I am a part.  By an entire coincidence, I have also agreed to be guest blogger here for that Sunday.  This seems providential: the appointed readings seem so difficult that I'm glad to be required to get started early on thinking about them!

 

            Heavy thoughts to throw into the midst of a congregation's Christmas festivities! Next Sunday presents a happier prospect, as we celebrate the Epiphany, with its beautiful though so-familiar story of the mysterious visitors from far away who come to pay homage to the newborn Christ in Bethlehem. But this Sunday's Gospel begins after the visitors have already gone, and tells a dark and terrible tale. "Herod the king, in his raging, charged he hath this day, his men of might, in his own sight, all young children to slay…" (Coventry Carol). Having learned from the Magi that "the king of the Jews" has been born, but having been denied information from those same Magi about exactly where the infant king may be found, Herod resorts to killing every child in the vicinity of Bethlehem who might possibly be his tiny rival for the throne (Matt. 2:16).

 

            The baby Jesus is saved from Herod's fury by divine intervention (Matt. 2:13-15). God's plan of salvation will not be ended this way. But how many other children die? These innocents whom Herod slaughters are like so many others who suffer when great things are afoot, when the rulers of this world make their plans and carry them out with violence, heedless of collateral damage. They are indeed innocent, they know nothing of why this happens to them, but they pay the price of others' rage or fear or pride or greed or lust or foolishness.

 

            This Sunday's Gospel makes me think of the children killed in war. It makes me think of children denied proper health care because of misplaced priorities in the richest nation in the world. It makes me think of the children of drug use and those who are victims of all kinds of abuse by adults. It makes me think not only of children, but of all who are caught up through no fault of their own in the evil of this world.

 

            Wow! I'm going to post this. This is the downside of my thinking about these readings. Tomorrow I will try to see the light that Christmas shines in the darkness, even Herod's darkness.

 



Jearlyn Steele
2007-12-19 by David Howell

The Festival of Homiletics already has a tremendous line-up of speakers and musicians this year. We are delighted to announce that Jearlyn Steele will be joining us for vocals! You have heard Jearlyn if you listen to Prairie Home Companion. What a voice!

I am so excited that I am going over to the Sermon Feedback Cafe and exhange some high-fives with Dave, Tom, Shannon, Rick, Dee Dee and all the regulars. Order me up a Spiced Latte and a turkey on rye with some fancy, exotic, imported mustard.





Ahaz Advent and Joseph
2007-12-19 by David von Schlichten

Shannon's sermon and the articles in Lectionary Homiletics, along with discussion, prayer, and meditation, have led me to lean towards preaching this Sunday on Ahaz and Joseph. Both received signs from God. Joseph wasn't looking and Ahaz wasn't asking. Joseph responds favorably. Ahaz is largely a negative figure.

Over the years, I have heard many people and myself long for a sign. God offers Ahaz a sign, but he doesn't want one. God gives Joseph a sign in the form of a dream, and Joseph responds with proper action. Hmmmmmm.

Bubbling, bubbling, bubbling,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Another question
2007-12-18 by Shannon Kershner

I was asked another question about my Joseph sermon.  The writer wanted to know if I would change anything about it, now that I have preached it and received congregational response.  Nope!  I felt it was a faithful interpretation of the text and my congregation enjoyed coming into it from a different angle.  They are always very open to my preaching style.  And, I am blessed to be here because they know that even if (when?) they disagree with me, I can still be their pastor.   



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