All Saints A: Preaching a Beatitudes Inversion

Matthew 5:1-12 Dear Partner in Preaching, There is a scene in Schindler’s List that came back to me while reading the Beatitudes. Amon Goeth, played by Ralph Fiennes, is the commandant of a German death camp. Goeth is, in brief, a violent sociopath, prone to kill the Jewish prisoners at his camp indiscriminately. And he believes that his ability to kill is the very essence of power. Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, is a consummate showman and has somehow worked his way into Amon Goeth’s good graces. One evening, Schindler challenges Goeth’s beliefs about power. The ability to kill isn’t power; the ability to have mercy is...

All Saints’ Sunday C: Saintly Vulnerability

A quick note: I’ll be reflecting on the Gospel appointed for All Saints’ Sunday but will put links here to a commentary and reflection I’ve written on Luke 20:27-28 (Pentecost 25 C) below. Luke 6:20-31 Dear Partner in Preaching, There is a reason that Luke describes Jesus preaching his most famous sermon from a plain rather than a mountain. Have you ever noticed that? That what we routinely call the “Sermon on the Mount” isn’t delivered from a mountain in Luke’s Gospel? That is what happens in Matthew’s story, but not Luke’s. Jesus does indeed go up a mountain in Luke’s account, but it is in order to pray, and after a...

All Saints Sunday: The Sermon I Need to Hear

Dear Partner in Preaching, You’ll know what to say to your congregation on this Sunday. I know that and trust that. But for what it’s worth, I’m going to share with you in this letter what I want, even need, to hear on All Saints’ Sunday this year. Our custom, of course, is to remember those who have died in the last year. And I believe that practice is, to borrow the old words, “meet, right, and salutary.” It gives us a moment to grieve those we have lost but also to move to thanksgiving for their life and, even more, for their place now among the saints gathered in the nearer presence of God. And so by all means, read the names...

U R a St! Nov01

U R a St!

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m not on Facebook. I took a little grief for that over the weekend, and figured I’d better come clean. I’m not on Twitter either. And I hardly ever text (although that’s changing as my kids get cell phones). It’s not that I have anything against Facebook or Twitter and the rest. Honest. For me, it’s just the issue of time – finding the time to learn it, set it up, do it, maintain it, and all the rest. So there it is (huge sigh of relief). 🙂 But if I were on Facebook, Twitter, and had lightening-fast texting thumbs, the message I would post on my wall (does FB still have that?), Tweet, and text...