Discernment: A Spiritual Practice for Preaching 1 Samuel 3 (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for January 15, 2012)

In this passage, God speaks to Samuel four times. The first three times, Samuel does not know that the voice he hears is the voice of God. He mistakenly assumes that his mentor, Eli, is calling him. As we read in verse seven, “Samuel did not yet know God, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him.”  Eventually, however, Eli realizes what is happening, and equips the young boy Samuel with what he needs to identify God’s call. And here we see that the first step of spiritual discernment … [Read more...]

Top 3 Blog Posts of 2011


Gold: by far my most viewed blog of this past year was "Four Spiritual Practices for Preaching on Matthew 25."Silver: second place goes to "Jesus’ Seed Parable and Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.”Bronze: the final top contender was "Jesus, a Donkey, and Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity.”Thanks, everyone, for reading.(Also, just FYI, the above list was generated from Google Analytics, an incredibly handy -- and free! -- tool that all bloggers should embed in their websites immed … [Read more...]

Preaching through the Didache: A Call for Resources


During the season of Epiphany (basically from the beginning of 2012 through Ash Wednesday), I'm planning a sermon series on the Didache. I've read the primary text previously a few times as well as a pieces of secondary literature, but I still don't feel like I have a firm enough grasp on this important early document. I figure preaching through the Didache is a great opportunity to correct this gap.As part of my sermon preparation, I plan to revisit Tony Jones' book The Teaching of the T … [Read more...]

“Let It Be” (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for the 4th Sunday of Advent)


The following is the second of two lectionary commentaries on the Gospel lesson for the 4th Sunday of Advent.The first is titled “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” and focuses on the first part of this week's this week's reading from Luke 1.Focal Question 1: What would Christianity look like if the focus were birth, not death; human flourishing, not suffering; and this world, not the next?Focal Question 2: How is God inviting you in the coming days and weeks to echo some form of Mary’s words of h … [Read more...]

“Hail Mary, Full of Grace” (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for the 4th Sunday of Advent)


The following is the first of two lectionary commentaries on the Gospel lesson for the 4th Sunday of Advent. The second is titled "Let It Be" and focuses on the final five verses of this week's reading from Luke 1.Focal Question: How is God calling you this Advent season to slow down, open your eyes in wonder, and expectantly wait for is already in the process of being born?I’m always wary of using the word “countless” — as in “She’s been in countless films” or “He’s scored countless touc … [Read more...]

Magnificat! Learning to Sing Mary’s Song (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary on Luke 1:46-55)

He Qi, "The Visitation"

I love that the Revised Common Lectionary includes the Magnificat as the alternative Psalm reading for the third Sunday of Advent. Mary was bold to sing about God, “You have brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly / You have filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” And this Advent season, I invite to consider, "How is God calling you to sing new lyrics to Mary’s song?"How are hope, peace, joy, and love being birthed in you this Christm … [Read more...]