Wednesday, February 1, 2017

John Oecolampadius: The Reformer of Basel (published with corrections)

I first published my translation of this short 19th c. biography of John Oecolampadius last June. After finding several typos, it has now been reissued with corrections.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time*

Job 33:1-33
Psalm 34:11-18
Matthew 12:1-21 OR Mark 3:7-19 OR Luke 6:1-16
Hebrews 12:(1-3) 4-17


   

Praise be to you, O Lord of the Sabbath, for you have made the Sabbath for our sake, taking in to account our need for refreshment, renewal, and rest! Yet you have also called us to be disciplined, and you discipline those whom you love, and chastise every child whom you accept. Thank you, LORD, that even your discipline, though it may seem painful rather than pleasant at the time, is a sign of your love and acceptance. Therefore, come! Receive our praise and teach us! Grant each of us a teachable spirit, not concerning ourselves, for the moment, with what our neighbors need to hear, but listening to your voice speaking to our own particular need. Instruct and inspire us, correct and admonish us, that we may share in your holiness, and trust in the knowledge that you only ever discipline us for our good.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Job 32:1-22
Psalm 89:5-18; 38-52
Hebrews 11:(1-3) 4-7, 17-28 (39-40)
Luke 5:27-39


      

CALL TO WORSHIP [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]                                
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
            For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
            Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD?
The LORD is a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him!
            O LORD God of hosts, who is as mighty as you?
            Your faithfulness, O LORD, surrounds you!
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance!
            Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 26:7-27:1 
Psalm 109
Hebrews 10:1-4, 10-14, 26-39
Matthew 8:1-4; 9:1-8 OR Luke 5:12-26

ASSURANCE OF PARDON [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has come with authority to forgive sins, and with power to perform miracles so as to confirm the good news of forgiveness: In a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; and those who have been made righteous in him will live by faith. Therefore, have faith. Let nothing cause you to shrink back and so be lost, but have confidence in God, and stand firm among those who share faith in the Lord and so are saved. For in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Baptism of the Lord/First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Leviticus 16:1-34
Psalm 69
Matthew 14:1-12
Hebrews 9:1-28


      
                                   
OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Lord God of Hosts, in whose beloved Son Jesus Christ we are joined together through the one baptism, begun in the Jordan and completed on the cross, draw near and refresh us with your presence, restore us to the joy of your salvation, for our prayer is to you alone, O Lord. May this be an acceptable time, O God, for you speak to us and answer us in the abundance of your steadfast love, for though we are yours through the waters of regeneration, yet there remain many forces in this world that threaten to overwhelm and swallow us up. Do not hide your face from your servants in distress, but reveal yourself and make haste to answer us; with your faithful help rescue us from sinking in the mire of this dying world. Draw near and redeem your people; set us free from every enemy, every entrapment, every temptation, and every snare. Deliver us from the deep waters into the new life that Christ alone offers us, who is at once the Lamb of God and the High Priest of the new and better and everlasting covenant. This we ask in Jesus’ name. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany (January 6)

Deuteronomy 4:9-24 (25-31) 32-40                    
Psalm 75 OR Psalm 76
1John 2:3-29
John 5:31-47

ASSURANCE OF PARDON [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Let the Word that you have heard from the beginning abide in you! For this is the good news: If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. As the word of God abides in you, your sins are forgiven on account of his name, and you have overcome the evil one. Therefore, receive the Spirit of the Lord, who has promised you eternal life. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The First Sunday of Christmas

Genesis 14:1-24
Matthew 8:14-34 OR Mark 5:1-20
Hebrews 7:1-28

     

PRAYER OF CONFESSION [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O Christ our Savior, yours in the power of an indestructible life! Yet we are mortal, compromised by sin, easily distracted from you, easily attracted by and accommodated to the surrounding culture. Saving Lord, save us from ourselves, and from every sinful thing that would come between us and you. Cut off every path of retreat from you, that as you draw us to yourself, we would not draw back, but lean forward into your presence, enter your rest, and learn to enjoy eternal fellowship with you, our true King of Peace, our true King of Righteousness!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve


   

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20 OR 7:1-14 OR Ezekiel 33:23-33
Matthew 12:22-50 OR Luke 11:14-36 (37-54)
James 1:17-27

OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Holy and Loving God, by your Holy Spirit, your son Jesus Christ came to expose the darkness of this world, to cast out demons, to deal death to death, and to inaugurate your new heavenly reign in the midst of our languishing earthly reality. Christ Jesus, the only begotten, has declared that everyone who does your will is his brother and sister, and he has blessed all who hear your word and obey it! Indeed, he himself is the Word of God. Help us, therefore, this night and always, to hear and receive him and all the good news concerning him, that we might forever be occupied with the true joy of hearts: Jesus Christ, the Son of David; greater than Solomon, greater than Jonah, greater than all, he is the Word and the Wisdom that gives life!

NOTE ON THE LECTIONS: These lections may seem peculiar for a Christmas Eve service, but I would urge the preacher to consider the possibilities that arise in light of the implicit logos Christology evident in the Epistle of James, in lieu of the more explicit logos Christology of the Johannine literature, then view the other texts through that theology of the Word. The contrast between careless, foolish, vain human speech and the divine and "implanted" word of truth is one that I think frames the whole feast of the Incarnation and the prospect of Epiphany (or Christophany) rather well, actually. In other words, do not be put off by the seeming lack of Christmas themes here. No, there are no nativity stories included, but neither is there a need to preach in isolation from them. The primary consideration, I think, is to approach these lections, not as though they have nothing to say of Christmas, but in the very light of Christmas itself, the Revelation of God in the Incarnation of Jesus: God's saving, embodied speech to the world. Let Christmas have its sway over these texts and vice versa, and new insights will undoubtedly emerge. Ezekiel will remind us that God's revelation is not merely beautiful, but true. Jesus and James will call us to live the faith and not merely profess it. The light of Christ shining amidst the darkness will be understood, not merely esthetically, but in terms of his mission to overthrow the cosmic forces of evil. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!