Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent (D)

Genesis 4:1-16 OR Isaiah 63:(7-9) 10-19
Psalm 101
John 8:31-47
Galatians 5:(1) 2-12 (13-25) 26 OR James 5:1-20


O Lord, compassionate and merciful, you have called us to freedom, to live and be guided by your Spirit, to bear the fruit of the Spirit, to serve one another in love and to love one another as we love ourselves! Let us not continue to live as those who have failed to come under the rule of your Son, or as those who are not called by the name of your Christ. But refresh us with your presence and anoint us with your Spirit, that our praises might be pleasing to you and our prayers might be powerful and effective on behalf of those who have become weak in the faith or wandered from you. You, who stand at the very doors of this place, enter and speak once again to your people! Give us strength for the life of faith, endurance as we eagerly await your final coming, and patience as we long for, and summon others into, your holy and gracious presence. This we ask in Jesus’ name.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Lent (D)

Isaiah 54:1-4 (5-14) 15-17 OR Isaiah 37:14-38
Psalm 39
John 8:12-30
James 4:4-17 OR Galatians 4:1-5:1

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Light for the world, you who are from above, yet are not of this world, you are truly the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Savior of all who trust in you. For you have been lifted up, crucified, for the sins of the world. Now, allow us, we humbly pray, to lift you up in exaltation, thanksgiving, and praise, that you might draw all to yourself, and speak your Word of life and of truth, as the Father has instructed. Let us receive your Spirit into our hearts, that, as you call out to our heavenly Father, we might be awakened to your presence within us, always working to bring us safely home.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Freedom of Christ

So what can happen when one superimposes lectio continua over Lent? Well, for one thing: this short series of six sermons on Galatians, preached ten years ago as I was designing and experimenting with Year D. With so many homiletical options on the table these days, one would not presume to issue such a collection with the expectation that such a series would ever be considered normative or exemplary—by anyone, least of all an author whose job it is to study and teach manifold approaches to preaching—nevertheless, this little book is at least a fair representation, a non-exemplary example, so to speak, of how preaching can cover significant territory with (I hope) some depth, yet at a fairly brisk pace.

More specifically and somewhat pedagogically, I offer it as an example of what I call "reiterative exposition," which is, as I understand it, akin to what Walter Brueggemann calls "re-utterance." For the record, I do realize that while Brueggemann favors, promotes, and envisions preaching as "re-utterance" of the Word, he is less positive about "reiteration." The difference, if there is one, seems to me less clear and stark than it evidently does to him. So with that expression of intent, i.e., that I think we are aiming at the same thing, here it is: a reiteration or a reutterance (as you like) of the gospel of freedom, The Freedom of Christ.

Here's hoping that, after all the flailing and failed fleshly attempts at freedom we see displayed in the weeks leading up to Lent, this articulation of and invitation to the freedom of Christ will find its way home in many a reader's heart.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

'Tis the season for Salix Babylonicus

If you are looking for a one-off Sunday school lesson or Wednesday night program this Lent, this short story is bound to generate good discussion in this season of self-examination, repentance, and recommitment to the cruciform life. In fact, one could well take several angles on it: the psalms, music therapy, pastoral listening, persecution and exile. Perhaps it needs a study guide?

Previous post with related links here.

Third Sunday of Lent

Genesis 13 OR 2Samuel 7:18-29
Psalm 38
John 7:40-52
Galatians 3:1-22 OR James 3:1-18


The LORD has promised, saying: “Raise your eyes now,
and look to the north, the south, the east, and the west …”
        You are great, O LORD our God; for there is no one like you;
        there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard!
“For all the land that you see
I will give to you and to your offspring forever.
I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth.”
        Now, LORD God, as for the word that you have spoken,
        confirm it forever; do as you have promised! 
“If one can count the dust of the earth,
your offspring also can be counted.
Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land,
for I will give it to you.”
        Thus your name will be magnified forever!
        For you are God, and your words are true!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent

Ezekiel 47:1-12
Psalm 143
John 7:14-39
James 2:(14-17) 18-26 OR James 2:1-26 OR Galatians 2:1-14 (15-21)

O LORD our God, you are the One true source of Living Water, the One who has been revealed in Christ Jesus, crucified, risen, and glorified, the One who sends the Spirit to summon your church into life anew. Give us life, O God, for we thirst for you! Give us freedom, O Christ, for we are bound to you! Give us courage, O Spirit, for we would have you lead us into the deep, deep waters that flow from life unto life, from deep unto deep, from the heart of the very temple of God to the heart of those who believe in and love you. This we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

First Sunday of Lent

Deuteronomy 10:12-22 OR Nehemiah 9:1-38
Psalm 6
John 7:1-13
Galatians 2:1-14 (15-21) OR Galatians 1:1-24 OR James 1:1-27 OR James 1:17-2:13



You shall fear the LORD your God; him alone you shall worship.
To the LORD you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear.  
The LORD is our praise; he is our God, who has done
great and awesome things for us that our own eyes have seen.
Heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the LORD our God,
the earth with all that is in it!
The LORD, the great God, is God of gods and Lord of lords.
Mighty and awesome, he is not partial and he takes no bribe.
Circumcise your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer,
for what does the LORD your God require of you?
Only to fear the LORD, to walk in all his ways, to love him,
to serve him with all our heart and soul, and to keep
his commandments and decrees for our own well-being.