God Singing and Advent; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Fiscal Cliff and Our Doomsday Addiction
2012-12-12 by David von Schlichten

This passage for the third week of Advent speaks of God singing (v.17) with joy over us because of the victory; God has turned away our enemies. God will save us, redeem us, and sing with joy about us.

Note that the singing with joy is not about anything we have done but is solely about what God has done to save us. God rejoices over us inspite of us.

One of my parishioners at Bible study found the idea of God singing to be an especially touching image. Indeed, such an image could be quite effective at getting people's attention from the pulpit.

So what does God singing sound like? Where do you hear God singing? How do we clear our heads to hear the vocal music of the Almighty?

FISCAL CLIFF AND MAYAN DOOMSDAY: We humans secretly love these, don't we? We love to worry about the End or about imminent disaster. Zombie apocalypse.

Perhaps this obsession with the End or some great cataclysm is an outgrowth of our anxiety about our mortality, and perhaps it also arises from our lack of creativity and vision about the good that can happen in the future. We are better at envisioning bad scenarios than good ones. 

Advent challenges us to envision good scenarios while acknowledging the dark realities. The coming of Christ, future, past, and present, empowers us to be theoptimists.

So are we in financial trouble? Yes, but, through our troubles, Christ will be there, feeding and teaching us, and working through us to help one another.

In general, we humans are quick to think the sky is falling and slow to think that God is lifting us. Let's challenge each other to have the ears to hear the song of God.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Presidential Election, Veteran's Day, November 11, 2012, Mark 12:38-44
2012-11-09 by David von Schlichten

The gospel for November 11, 2012 warns against mistreating widows and features Jesus pointing out what most people are overlooking, a widow giving all she has. She's not flashy and fancy, not noisy or ostentatious. She is not wealthy, has no prestigious position, and she is, according to Jesus, the most important person in the room, a kind of model for the rest of us.

Of course, we can't all literally give every cent of our money away. Actually, there is nothing in the passage that says that we must imitate the woman's behavior to the letter. We are just told that she has given more than the wealthy because she has given everything. Further, while it may not be economically sound for everyone to give away everything, it is our calling to challenge ourselves in the area of giving, to push ourselves to give more. 

Part of that giving is giving to widows, that is, people in need, and God calls President Obama to help make this giving happen more effectively (He's off to a good start, and I am thrilled that he was re-elected). Indeed, all of us, regardless of party, are to put aside partisan silliness and focus on helping the widow. We may disagree on how to help the widow, but we also have areas of agreement. Let's concentrate on those.

One group of "widows" among is wounded veterans. May we do more to help those struggling with physical, psychological, and spiritual illnesses and injuries.

Who are the widows among us? How does our nation help them, and what could we do better?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





Book Reviews by Randy Saultz
2012-11-06 by David Howell

Interesting and helpful book reviews on preaching in Share It.



Sandy and All Saints Sunday; Revelation 21:1-6; John 11:32-44
2012-11-02 by David von Schlichten

We do not earn our saint status. God has conferred that upon us through Christ. Now that we have saint status, we are to respond by living as the saints that God has made us into. We have been canonized; now, we live as the canonized.

Revelation 21:1-6 not only offers an eschatological vision, but also assures us that God is realizing this vision now. Verse 5 says, "I am making all things new." Present tense.

God uses us to help make all things new. What if we take Revelation 21:1-6 and use it as the paradigm according which to shape our lives? For instance, how does this eschatological vision inform how we help to make all things new for Sandy victims?

John 11:32-44 offers us a similar comfort-challenge. Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb. Life! Then Jesus tells us to unbind him and let him go.

How do we unbind Sandy victims? How do we help them hear the call to life?

We make donations and pray, yes. Very important. What else can we do?

What if my congregation vowed to spend the next year focusing on helping Sandy victims with money, supplies, prayers, and even workers? 

We are saints. The Holy Spirit will help us to live out that saint status.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 





Reformation Day, Halloween; October 28, 2012
2012-10-27 by David von Schlichten

REFORMATION 

In the ELCA, on October 28 we will celebrate the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The day is not for Roman Catholic-bashing but for rejoicing over the saving power of God's grace. We are justified by grace through faith, thanks be to Christ.

The day is also for ecumenism. In the sixteenth century, the Church split into Roman Catholic and Protestant. Over the past fifty years or so, we Christians of all sorts have recognized the need for greater unity among us. We are to reform toward durable ecumenism.

One essential component of this reforming activity is learning more about each other and ourselves so that we can clearly articulate our own positions as well as value the positions of others. It is not helpful ecumenically simply to say, "We're all the same, all trying to get to the same place." We different types of Christians are NOT all the same, and, indeed, part of the excitement of the Church is in understanding and learning from those differences, not glossing over them.

HALLOWEEN 

This holiday can be fun precisely because we Christians know that God defeats evil. We can have fun getting scared on Halloween because we are confident that, ultimately, God defeats that which deeply scares us: sin, death, the devil. 

Indeed--and here we can unite Reformation and Halloween--we can have fun with fear on Halloween because, through Christ's death and resurrection, we experience the perfect love that casts out all fear.

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 [Next] [Last Page]

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