Submit Your Own!

Free Sample for December 21, 2014
By David Howell

***Purchase recordings of 2014 Festival of Homiletics (and earlier years). Purchase 

 

The free sample below is just one of many resources enjoyed by subscribers to GoodPreacher.com this week.

 Click here to see over 70 preaching resources for most Sundays for your sermon preparation at GoodPreacher.com.
If you like what you see, click here to subscribe for $19.99! All for less than $1.00 per week!Plus receive four free months when other pastors subscribe using your unique Referral Code!     

 

Preaching Luke 1:26-38

 

Normally preachers are not encouraged to make announcements that lead to perplexity and fear. Normally preachers are inclined to resolve and comfort those conditions. However, following Gabriel’s actions and Mary’s responses, these may be the necessary conditions for God’s word to bear fruit.


In a wonderful article entitled, “Bourne in Perplexity,”1 Lillian Daniel notices that, in this account of the extraordinary dialogue with the angel Gabriel, Mary’s state of perplexity in never downplayed. In fact, Mary is perplexed even before she hears that she is pregnant.
This may be a different kind of comfort to us, at least to those of us who do not live in a state of quiet confidence or certainty about our faith. As Daniel says, “perplexity, as a state of mind, is hugely underrated in our surefooted society.” No one wants to be known as a confused person, yet, by bringing Mary’s perplexity to our attention, the passage implies that newness in faith may be made possible by the openness that perplexity brings.

This will be a liberating thought for many sermon listeners. The state of perplexity and the use of indirect communication, the presence of ambiguity, ambivalence, language that dances around the mystery of God incarnate—paradox—all of these normally unwelcome and uncertain forms may be essential to the hearing of a new “word,” the Gospel.

A valuable insight for preachers is found in Mary’s response to hearing this word of the Lord in Gabriel. As Daniel puts it, what if Mary’s response was “thanks for the update, Gabe. Consider me up-to-date and informed. I’m moving ahead with total clarity. I’ll take it from here!”? Would God have doubted that this was the right woman for the job? Instead, God chooses Mary because this was a job for someone with an open spirit, someone who could be touched by something new, someone smart enough to be afraid in the face of an angel, and decidedly not someone who had closed down on the possibilities that God is always offering.

Faithfully receiving requires a certain passivity. It is not weakness, it is the faithful stance of a person who trusts that, given a little space in our lives, God will move. It is to trust that God knows what God is doing, even if we don’t, and God is drawn to those who need divine grace and mercy. So being perplexed, vulnerable, young, alone, old, tired, these are not necessarily bad states-of-being when it comes to attracting a divine encounter.
Maybe the biggest trouble we have in this society is that no one is trying to be like Mary. We try not to be lowly. When you combine this encounter with Gabriel and Mary’s Song (Advent 3) as her response, we can see that this is about God overturning the tyrants of the world, but it also reveals that the “powerful” parts of “me” need to be overturned.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but over here we are almost certain that we must be successful, we must get ahead, we must be important, we must gain influence. Think of what we could do! Then we internalize these demands and believe that if we fulfill this mission, we will be safe, successful, influential, strong, powerful, and we will be safe.

I’ll be okay once I become a full professor, once I have titles flowing outward from each end of my name, once I have a nice house, universal respect, and your undying love. Then, I will be fulfilled with God’s grace and heavenly benediction. Then I will be fulfilled.
“Fool!” Says the Lord.

Every ad I see encourages women to deny their age, whether it’s too old or too young. What is the perfect age for a woman? God doesn’t seem to know, because here in Luke 1 he chooses one too-old and one too-young.

God knows, and we probably know too, that we really are vulnerable, we are lowly, we are anxious, we are nervous. It is a nerve-racking time in which to live. But God knows what God is doing, and God is drawn to those who need him.

God might just bring forth a baby Jesus from that loser girl you saw taunted in high school; even if she is you. God might just heal the crushed people, feed the starving people, raise up the lowly people—and we just might be saved by them.

Todd Townshend
Notes

 1. Lillian Daniel, “Bourne in Perplexity: Luke 1:26-38” in Journal for Preachers (Advent 2005), 26-27.

                   

***Purchase recordings of 2014 Festival of Homiletics (and earlier years). Purchase

See Tom Steagald's Preaching Journal! Tom is the Pastor at Lafayette Street United Methodist Church in Shelby, NC, and adjunct professor at Hood Theological Seminary (AME, Zion) in Salisbury, NC. Tom has just published Shadows, Darkness and Dawn: A Lenten Journey with Jesus (Upper Room). Previous titles include Praying for Dear Life and Every Disciple's Journey, both from NavPress. He is a frequent contributor to Feasting on the Word, The Abingdon Preaching Annual, and other preaching resources. Tom's journal will detail each week's work to "discover" the sermon to be preached at Lafayette Street. Follow FestHomiletics on Twitter 

Subscribers have access to approximately 60 articles on the texts each week. These articles are not just exegetical articles but essays (and sermons) on the texts from theological, pastoral, arts, and homiletical perpectives. All for $19.99!

See Homiletical Hot Tub on Homepage for more discussion on texts. Go to Homepage and then to Share It! and see Stories, Movie Reviews, etc. At Share It! you may also submit stories, book reviews, etc. And even submit a sermon for feedback at the Sermon Feedback Cafe. Click on Submit Your Own!"I am not really a lectionary preacher most of the time, but I have found the archives at GoodPreacher.com helpful over and over again as a resource for exegesis, interpretation, and just the pleasure and inspiration of reading good sermons on a text I am studying. It is a rich community to share in."
 

 

 

Dean J. Snyder, Senior Minister
Foundry United Methodist Church
Washington DC

"GoodPreacher.com is like having coffee with some of the most gifted
preachers in America today. You come away with a caffeine buzz and a dozen good ideas for Sunday's sermon."
--Jim Somerville, First Baptist Church, Richmond, VA


"As the solo pastor in a very busy rural congregation, this resource provides the mind stretching theological insights that are immensely helpful as I struggle weekly with how to share the message of God’s all encompassing love. The ability to move back and forth between the print version and Good Preacher.com enables me to save time as what I need is simply a click away." Jackie Ahern, ELCA pastor

"With all the lectionary resources on the market today I did a great deal of shopping and testing before I settled on www.GoodPreacher.com . The quality of the resource is excellent, drawing on some wonderful minds. But even more than that is the variety. One week I am inspired by the artistic approach and another week it might be the biblical background and the next week the pastoral perspective. Thought provoking, inspiring, creative and helpful, what more could a preacher need?"

Teri Thomas
Northminster Presbyterian Church
Indianapolis, IN

"The best lectionary preaching resource."
Zan Holmes
, UMC pastor and former homiletics professor

"...an ideal place to begin the process and adventure of sermon writing, as it provides clever insights and a window into the lectionary text. When you cannot get started it is a jump start into Sunday!"

Fr. Bob Trache
St. Mark's Episcopal Church
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 
"...the best because it offers so many different ways to enter the text, more than any other available, and the material is always current and relevant..."
 
Fred Darbonne, Disciples of Christ pastor

"As a subscriber for more than ten years what I appreciate most is the variety that's built into the format - many voices contributing from a variety of perspectives on exegesis, relationship with he arts, pastoral perspectives, sample sermons, etc. I've never been isappointed. There's always something that sparks an idea or inspires."

Rev. Steve Schuette
Bethel UCC, Elmhurst, IL
 “I am a lectionary preacher but I have difficulty scheduling a regular time to meet with a lectionary study group.  This reality is why GoodPreacher is so important to me.  I am immediately placed into a conversation with preachers both past and present.  GoodPreacher is helping to form an interpretive community for all of us who are out in the ministry trenches.  This interpretive community helps us stay fresh and alive in our personal faith and in our communal preaching.”
Shannon Johnson Kershner
Woodhaven Presbyterian Church
Irving, Texas

"A treasure chest of scholarship and story that feeds both heart and head."
Susan R. Andrews

 






Return