Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

An Invitation

There is a time for everything: a time to preach more broadly from the canon (Year D) and a time to preach more narrowly on those chief "heads" or matters of first importance. The latter is a matter of catechetical preaching, a subset of doctrinal preaching, itself a subset of topical preaching. At least that is how I see and would map the concentric relation.

Why not join me for a five-week (asynchronous) discussion of Catechetical Preaching, Part I — The Lord's Prayer, starting next Tuesday, September 20. We will be discussing my recent book, Our Father Knows: The Prayer that Jesus Taught. Perhaps it will goad your thinking and planning toward preaching the essentials. After all, for many adult Christians today, confirmation ... was a long time ago!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 19]


Deuteronomy 16:1-17
Psalm 92: (1-4) 5-11 (12-15)
Matthew 26:1-19 OR Mark 14:1-16 OR Luke 22:1-13
1Timothy 5

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Christian education and liturgical resources

As the summer flies by all too quickly, you may find yourself in need of doing some planning for the fall, both for Sunday school and worship, in which case, I could well imagine 6 or 7 weeks in the study of the Lord's Prayer ...

and 6 to 9 weeks rediscovering an important, but forgotten Reformer.

The seventeen chapters in this piece are very short and could easily be read two or three at a clip. For many an adult ed class or book group, you could well spend a whole semester on these two studies alone.

After which, you may be ready for something lighter at Advent and Christmas. Written to "delight," this story is probably most suited to a family night or fellowship gathering, but perhaps it has been adapted for pageants; you might also think of it as an extended Christmas card for a congregation, a thank you gift for key families, a welcome gift for visitors, etc.

Where worship is concerned, if you haven't looked into Year D yet, it is not too soon to plan ahead:


On the other hand, if you want to restart the RCL cycle with Year A and the Gospel of Matthew, you may want to have this on hand:

These are just a few — hopefully helpful — pieces developed over the years in small church ministry, and one (the translation) that has arisen from the nagging sense that we still have a lot to learn about our identity and mission as Christians in the Reformed tradition from the actual Reformers (there are more than just Luther and Calvin) who got the ball rolling. In short and paradoxically, clues to the way forward always seems to demand attending to the past, if we are patient and teachable enough to search out the great treasures of the tradition. Obviously, that applies to scripture above all, especially to those basic, but neglected essentials like the Lord's Prayer.

Spread the Word!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Prelude to the Passion - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 18]


Exodus 28:(1-29) 30-43 OR 2Samuel 15:30-37; 16:15-17:4 OR 2Chronicles 30:1-27
Psalm 141
John 11:45-57
1Corinthians 16:1-24

Father of lights, let your glory fill this place as it once filled the tabernacle of the covenant; let your cloud and fire guide us on every stage of our journey of faith, as you once guided Israel through the wilderness. Come and reign over us; oversee our renewal, reform, and restoration. Let there be great joy here as has not been for many generations. Bless your people gathered here and receive our praises as we bless your name. Let our voice be heard on high, O LORD; and let our prayer came to your holy dwelling in heaven. For the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ, which he has made for the sins of the world, has not been in vain, but bears the fruit of faith in every tribe and people and language and nation! Therefore, come, O God, and gather all your dispersed children into one, in the name of our risen Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Prelude to the Passion - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 17]


Numbers 11:1-30 OR Isaiah 45:20-25 OR Jeremiah 4:19-31 OR Zechariah 8:1-23
Psalm 68:11-31 (32-35) OR 120
John 10:19-21 (22-30) 31-42
1Corinthians 14:1-40

Our Living Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown us many good works from our heavenly Father, with whom you are One: we thank you for the gift of eternal life, and for the assurance that we will never perish, that no one will ever snatch us out of your hand! What blessed assurance this is! What boldness it gives us to witness to you! Yet our vision is dim and our hearing is dull, and those in the world to whom we would witness sometimes seem to have no sense at all! Lord, open blind eyes and sharpen our vision, open deaf ears and refine our understanding, that when we hear the sound of your voice we will know it and be quick to follow! For truly, Lord, the works that you do in the Father’s name testify to you, and the gifts that you have given us are encouraging indeed. Therefore, draw near, that we, your church, may praise you in the Spirit and be built up in love by your prophetic word. This we ask for your name’s sake.