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...

John 20:19-21

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples...

John 20:11-15

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They...

Easter 3 B: Resurrection Doubts

Dear Partner in Preaching, Here’s my brief take this vignette from Luke’s larger narrative about the resurrection appearances of Jesus: if you don’t have serious doubts about the Easter story, you’re not paying attention. Seriously. I mean, just read the story. Actually, all of the stories. For while the four gospels have many interesting variations in their account of Jesus’ resurrection, they are absolutely consistent on one thing: no one believes the good news of Jesus’ resurrection when they first hear it. No one. And that includes Jesus’ own disciples, the ones who were closest to him and spent the most time with him. In...

Easter B: Only the Beginning

Dear Partner in Preaching, I’ll be completely honest and just admit that I totally sympathize with the monks. The monks, that is, who just couldn’t believe that Mark really ended at verse 16:8a in such an awkward, unsatisfying, and distressingly incomplete way. Here’s what we know about this ending: Although there are numerous later manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel that have alternative and longer endings, all the earliest manuscripts end right here. Which means that this is most likely where Mark wanted his story to end, with a final sentence that is grammatically awkward, ending rather abruptly and with a preposition – an unusual...