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...

Pentecost 10 B: The Surprise of our Lives

Dear Partner in Preaching, How do you feel about surprises? I’ll be honest: I’m not wild about them. In fact, I’ve always been a bit leery of people who love surprises. Call me dull, but, for the most part, I like the predictable, the planned, the ordered. For surprises, good or bad, have this way of upsetting plans and catching you off guard, of making you feel all unsettled and unprepared and insecure. Now, don’t get me wrong, surprises in some areas of life are fine, even fun; but I still get rather nervous around people who love to surprise other people. Now, I know, I know, most people are well-intentioned when they plan their...

John 1:12

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. And here is the turn. The turn from disobedience, lack of recognition, and rejection. The turn toward life, and light, and joy. For while many rejected the Word of light and life, not all did. And...

Matthew 13:24-30

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as...

Matthew 10:26-31

“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the...