Watch Those Omissions! - Reflections on Ps.104:24-34, 35b

I would imagine that most preachers will give primary attention on Pentecost, the so-called “birthday of the church,” to Acts 2, the tale on which the celebration is largely based. If we imagine that the Christian church was founded that day in Jerusalem, we should further hope that it was not founded on the slippery slope of being more against certain ideas than for the universal love and grace represented by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Hatred of Enemies - Reflections on Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35

The portrait of YHWH in Ps.68 is rooted in a time in Israel’s distant past when they struggled for survival in a hostile land, surrounded by people who were vastly superior to them in technologies and cultural stability. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Warning: Danger Ahead! - Reflections on Psalm 66:8-20

I must say that Ps.66 is a relic from a theological time that I hope has passed away, but that I know sadly has not. God is larger, more mysterious, more inexplicable than we all can imagine, and because that is true, we are in no position to know precisely what God is about in our lives at every moment, in every occasion.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Must Reads, Episode 20, with Shauna K. Hannan, featuring her book “The People's Sermon”

In her book The People's Sermon: Preaching as a Ministry to the Whole Congregation, Dr. Shauna Hannan focuses on collaborative preaching and defines it as a spectrum of approaches, from checking in with someone about a sermon topic to inviting others to take the microphone during the sermon. She argues that collaborative preaching is important because it helps to equip the whole congregation to proclaim the gospel.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

YHWH’s Fierce Love - Reflections on Ps.31:1-5, 15-16

I know full well that the word “fierce” is often used in contexts of savagery and bestiality, a description of the behavior of wild animals, and thus perhaps not the first word that comes to mind when considering the saving and protective love of God. Yet, it seemed to me all the more important to get this wild element of God’s love into the English rendering.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Must Reads Classics - The Four Pages of the Sermon by Paul Scott Wilson

In this episode of Must Reads Classics, Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, professor of Homiletics Emeritus at Emmanuel College of the University of Toronto, discusses his book “The Four Pages of the Sermon” where he provides guidance to preachers on how to craft an effective sermon. The book is structured around four pages or stages that make up a typical sermon: the exegetical page, the theological page, the homiletical page, and the narrative page. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Familiarity Breeds Indifference - Reflections on Psalm 23

Is it truly possible to say anything new about Ps.23? I have heard this poem so many times that I have stopped listening to its words. That indifference is a great mistake, I think, because this little poem is fairly riddled with powerful claims, hilarious assaults on human pride, and ambiguous meanings in any number of places. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Thanksgiving After Rescue - Reflections on Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

Ps.116 is a psalm that apparently enshrines the gratitude of a worshipper who has faced severe sickness, has cried out in anguish to God for help, has been answered by that God, and has offered multiple forms of thanksgiving for rescue. All who read this psalm can recount many occasions when the sufferer did not receive the reply urgently requested. God’s gifts are just that, gifts, not certain results of faithful actions. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Hope for Unity - Reflections on Jeremiah 31:1-6

Jeremiah offers to us one of Easter’s most profound calls - a promise of unity, when human divisions will end, when wars will cease, when partisanship and quarreling will stop, swallowed up in the blinding light of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Liturgy of the Passion - Reflections on Isaiah 50:4-9a

Nearly every church I know celebrates Palm Sunday, rather than Passion Sunday, but today I choose to focus on the text chosen for Passion Sunday, Isaiah’s third Song of the Servant of YHWH.

Monday, March 27, 2023