REMEMBERING THE SABBATH
2013-08-23 by David von Schlichten

How do we do it? With increasing busyness and rising secularism, it is extremely challenging to honor the Sabbath consistently. Many of us do little more than squeeze in an hour of worship.

A key component of observing the Sabbath is rest, but what if you are not able to rest on that day due to obligations? Also, what constitutes rest? Is watching pro-football a legitimate Sabbath activity? Does taking a nap count?

Here are some ideas that one could work into a sermon on honoring the Sabbath:

1. Our rest should help us to increase our love for God and neighbor.

2. Attending worship is mandatory, not optional. If we cannot attend on Sunday, then we should attend on another day.

3. Helping others is a worthwhile Sabbath activity.

What else? What thoughts do you have?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator  





Genesis 18:20-32; Can We Change God's Mind?
2013-07-26 by David von Schlichten

The story of Abraham convincing God to spare Sodom if it has ten righteous inhabitants seems to say that we can, indeed, change God's mind. There is a similar story between God and Moses. In Jonah, God changes his mind about destroying Nineveh when the citizens of that city repent. Finally, In Matthew 15, the Canaanite woman persuades Jesus to heal her daughter.

Many of us are uncomfortable with the idea that flawed mortals can change the mind of Almighty God. We tend to explain away the above stories by concluding that surely God was going to do a certain act all along and was just, say, testing the faith of the petitioner. But that's not what these passages say. What they say is that people change God's mind.

So how do we preach this idea?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





LUKE 10:25-37: LESSONS FROM THE "INFERIOR"
2013-07-09 by David von Schlichten

In this story, Jesus explains how to be a neighbor, and he uses a Samaritan to make his point. That is, his example of how to be a neighbor is the last person the lawyer would think capable of exemplifying neighborliness.

So then, perhaps part of being a neighbor is opening oneself to learning a positive lesson from someone we usually look down upon.

In the pulpit, then, we could invite people to consider who has Samaritan status and the possibility of learning from such "inferior" people how to be a better neighbor.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





WHAT TO PREACH ON THIS SUMMER?
2013-06-14 by David von Schlichten

The summer season can seem too green and slow. How do we keep the preaching fresh? What ideas do you have?

I realized how many parishioners I have who are in Twelve Step programs, so I am doing a series this summer on those steps. Of course, I will be combining them with my ELCA/biblical perspective. I will be consulting with Twelve Steppers, to make sure that I am preaching that which is in line with that ideology (while also being in line with my biblical/ELCA ideology).

OTHER IDEAS:

PICK A BOOK FROM THE BIBLE THAT YOUR DENOMINATION OVERLOOKS, AND PREACH ON IT.

DO A SERIES ON THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS.

DO A SERIES ON SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, SUCH AS GAY MARRIAGE, ABORTION, WAR, POVERTY, PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT.

DO A SERIES ENTITLED: HOW TO GIVE AWAY A MILLION DOLLARS.

PREACH ON THE PSALM EVERY WEEK FOR A MONTH.

PREACH ON THE BIBLICAL CONNECTIONS IN BELOVED HYMNS.

DO A SERIES ON WHAT MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER.

Please email me your suggestions.

Yours by the pool,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





HOLY WEEK POETRY
2013-03-24 by David von Schlichten

HOLY WEEK VILLANELLE

 

Because of Christ, the Hope has been restored.

Were you there when they waved the palms, and then

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

 

We’re quick to gripe, forever keeping score.

We’re called to bring our vengeance to an end.

Because of Christ, the Hope has been restored.

 

In this rough world, we’re quickly worn, hurt, bored,

But God heals us by teaching us again,

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

 

Our drama fix leaves us depleted, gored.

Our hope bleeds as we lash at family, friends.

Because of Christ, the Hope has been restored.

 

We think the key to joy is to buy, hoard.

We stuff our homes, forgetting what will mend:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

 

The Good News from God is deep in our core

Shaped by the Trinity-and-human-blend.

Because of Christ, the Hope has been restored!

We were there when they crucified our Lord!





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