Festival of Homiletics; Holy Spirit and Creed's Third Article
2010-05-20 by David von Schlichten

I have heard exciting things about the Festival of Homiletics. Pastor Leah D. Schade, for example, reported that Barbara Lundblad's talk on same gender relations was outstanding. What else have people found edifying?

I am back in PA thinking about the sermon for Pentecost. I am turning over in my mind the third article of the Apostles' Creed, which pertains to the Holy Spirit. That article mentions the Spirit and then lists a bunch of other things that we believe. As Luther and others have argued, this list of other things is not some list of ideas left over that don't fit anywhere else in the Creed. Rather, this list has to do with the activity of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, it is the Holy Spirit who is responsible for the holy, catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. For Sunday, then, I might focus on one or more of these and expound on it.

For instance, I might preach on exactly how the Holy Spirit is responsible for the resurrection of the body (as well as on what the resurrection of the body is).

What are your thoughts?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Are You Talkin' to Me?
2010-05-18 by Stephen Schuette

I stand in awe of the way the seasons flow into one another.  All along the stories from Acts that we’ve been reading in Eastertide are seen as evidence of the continuing work of a Risen Christ.  But now, from Acts 2, we look back on these same stories and find them connected with a “violent wind” – a kind of uncontrollable, unmanageable, untamable force that, as John would say (through the voice of Jesus), “…blows where it wills.”

Why violent, including the violence in the prophecy of Joel that is quoted?  Because Luke can’t get away from the fact that it is disrupting and disorienting and radically undermines our assumptions about how the world works and who is in charge and even the nature of “power” itself.  Looking back, that’s what resurrection suggests.  Looking forward, it means we have to look at everything anew, imagine everything “in translation.”  And the lexicon which holds the key to the message or the prophecy is Jesus.

For instance, Borg and Crossan make clear that the early message about Jesus (as well as the words of Jesus himself) uses language that is co-opted from imperial Roman understandings. Words are translated.  Talk about transformation!  The very powers that attempted to derail the movement using Roman crucifixion are actually taken up to illustrate God’s new message of resurrection.  So there is Son of God/Son of God, peace/peace, empire/empire, cross/cross, slave/slave, heir/heir.  But without Jesus you can’t understand the language.  Without Jesus it’s just more Babel-producing noise.  In fact, the miracle of Pentecost may be that the listeners “heard” each in their own language and were able to pick it out and identify it rather than being confused by the din of all the comingled languages!

Notice how midway through the passage the pronouns switch from third person (they) to first person (we).  Luke verbalizes, in first person, the question of each in the crowd:  “How is it that we hear, each of us…?”  Or, from the other side, given God’s power to use language that’s understandable (God’s ability to create and speak a Word), how can we not hear?  What’s standing in the way of our truly hearing?

For God can use everything/anything.  The reality is pervasive.  It’s only our understanding that is short-sighted (or short of hearing??).  Tillich would say that a Christian who paints a tree paints a Christian tree.  In other words it is imbued with the language of faith.  And so the Christian who views the painting would recognize it and say, “Ok, I understand.  You were talkin’ to me afterall.”





The Festival of Homiletics
2010-05-17 by David von Schlichten

Post your thoughts about the Festival! We'd love for you to share your experiences.

Stuck back in PA, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Stephen Schuette, Subversion, and Confirmation
2010-05-13 by David von Schlichten

Stephen Schuette offers excellent thoughts about the subversive nature of prayer in two of our readings for this Sunday.

We at St. James are having confirmation this Sunday. Teens, of course, tend to rebel against authority, including the Church. Perhaps it would be a fruitful strategy to preach this Sunday on how being involved with the Church is a rebellious act vis-a-vis the world. Wanna rebel? Come to worship!

Actually, that message probably won't persuade teens to attend worship who are adamantly opposed to doing so, but the message is true, nonetheless. Besides, it might help teens who are on the fence about the Church to commit to attending worship at least once in a while. 

I don't know. What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





More Subversive Prayer
2010-05-11 by Stephen Schuette

The prayer of Jesus in John is challenging, and subversive too, in a way that maybe strikes very close to home!  It's sometimes called Jesus' high priestly prayer, but I think its character is far more prophetic than priestly.

The mirror opposite of Jesus' high and majestic desire for us is the reality in which we live – a church divided and divided again, with continuing divisions that keep us from oneness.  You might try to mitigate this with an appreciation for the variety of gifts that the various denominations bring to a theoretical larger Christian movement.  But I find that argument to be a rationalization and a self-serving explanation that allows us to stay comfortably where we are entrenched in separate camps instead of taking Jesus’ prayer as something we are to seriously live out.

For I believe that Jesus’ great hope as expressed in this prayer is also connected with Jesus’ deepest disappointment and even tears at its lack of fulfillment.  For example, how deep and rewarding is the sense of community I share with colleagues on Tuesday mornings as we listen to the texts!  At the same time, how deep is my sorrow that what we share on Tuesdays is not present on Sunday!

We dont' need to be reminded that Sunday is the most segreated time in Christendom:  racially, generationally, ethnically, denominationally...  It's an old book and out of print but if you can get your hands on it see H. Richard Niebhur's Social Sources of Denominationalsim.  How we are invested in adiaphora!





[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.)