Epiphany 2 B: Gracious Invitation

John 1:43-51 Dear Partner in Preaching, What struck me in this week’s passage is the degree to which Nathaniel’s first reaction to Jesus feels rather tinged by sarcasm. I say “feels” only because sarcasm seems more frequent in our media than in our Scriptures. We are used to talk radio hosts, media pundits, cultural commentators, or sports analysts employing sarcasm from time to time to make a point. (And lately, perhaps, more than “from time to time”!) But rarely do you hear something sarcastic in Scripture, and that caught my attention. While I first found Nathaniel’s reaction – and John’s reporting of it, for that matter...

Easter A: Proclaiming an On-Going Easter

Matthew 28:1-10 Dear Partner in Preaching, Here we are again: the climax and conclusion of Lent and Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian year, the very peak of the Christian story and, we confess, world history itself. And here’s the thing: while I believe that each of those statements is true, I also believe each is insufficient. Too often, I think, we see Easter as a conclusion, when I suspect that in the Gospels and, for that matter, in the early Christian community, the resurrection of Jesus was meant to be only the beginning. The very fact that we have Matthew’s scene of the resurrection supports that assertion. Assuming with...

Lent 5A: Heartache, Miracle, Invitation

John 11:1-45 Dear Partner in Preaching, Once again we’re offered – or faced with, depending on your mood 🙂 – a really, really long story from the Gospel According to John. As with the earlier stories, it can be both helpful and effective to focus on a particular detail to help hearers enter the story as a whole and experience its evangelical force. This week, however, I was struck by the dramatic movement of the story and how following that movement can offer us an opportunity to take stock of, and participate in, God’s ongoing and dynamic action in the life of our congregations. There are, I think, three major movements to this...

Epiphany 2 A: A Question, Invitation, and Promise

John 1:29-42 Dear Partner in Preaching, It all starts with a question and an invitation. Jesus’ ministry and mission in the Gospel of John, that is. And I find that both interesting and instructive. First the question. Jesus’ first words in John’s Gospel are not a sermon or an exorcism or the proclamation of the coming kingdom, as in other accounts, but rather a question. When disciples of John the Baptist come looking for him, he asks them, “What are you looking for?” The richness of this question in the original Greek bears notice, as the question could also have been translated, “What are you seeking?” or “What do you hope...

John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of...