Rick Marshall

Proper 24A

October 16, 2011
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 33:12-23
Reading 2: 
Psalm 99
Reading 3: 
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Reading 4: 
Matthew 22:15-22
Alt Reading 1: 
Isaiah 45:1-14
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the Texts:

Proper 23A

October 9, 2011
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 32:1-14
Reading 2: 
Psalm 106:1-6
Reading 3: 
Philippians 4:1-9
Reading 4: 
Matthew 22:1-14
Alt Reading 2: 
Pslam 23
Alt Reading 1: 
Isaiah 25:1-9
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the Texts

It seems to be “party time” with two of the texts. The text from Exodus is the famous telling of the Golden Calf incident. The other text is from the Matthew, the parable of the Wedding Banquet. But the two stories couldn’t be different and so it would be fruitful to compare them. Even the text from Isaiah is joyful, as is the text from Philippians. What are all the texts celebrating? For one thing, they all celebrate a change in future prospects when the divine presence is taken into account.

Proper 22A

October 2, 2011
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Reading 2: 
Psalm 19
Reading 3: 
Philippians 3:4b-14
Reading 4: 
Matthew 21:33-46
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the Texts

Exodus: 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20

It is interesting that the lectionary omits verses 4-6, where the divine language has a very sharp edge: “I am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents.” Other verses, 10-11, are left out with no apparent reason based on the text. If I were to preach on this text, I would use verses 1-20. There is no point in ignoring difficult parts of the Bible. In fact, addressing difficult texts can often bear more fruit than a non-problematic text.

Proper 26

October 31, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 1:10-18
Reading 2: 
Psalm 119:137-144 or Psalm 32:1-7
Reading 3: 
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Reading 4: 
Luke 19:1-10
By Rick Marshall

The Isaiah text is a sobering indictment of the emptiness of religious activities if justice is not observed. The call to right behavior comes in verses 16 and 17. “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” And what is right behavior, right religion, if not taking care of the orphan, the widow, the oppressed?

Proper 25

October 24, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Joel 2:23-32
Reading 2: 
Psalm 65 or Psalm 84:1-7
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Reading 4: 
Luke 18:9-14
Alt Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22
By Rick Marshall

The Jeremiah and Joel texts are the peoples’ confessions of sin and requests for deliverance, even arguing their case with God. The texts involve lament and grief over their behavior with respect to God, their ruptured relationship. The poetic piling up of words of sadness and despair can become overwhelming, cascading images of failure, a steady beat of hopelessness.

Proper 24

October 17, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 31:27-34
Reading 2: 
Psalm 119:97-104 or Psalm 121
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Reading 4: 
Luke 18:1-8
Alt Reading 1: 
Genesis 32:22-31
By Rick Marshall

Three of the texts for this Sunday (Jeremiah, Genesis, Luke) are highly suggestive of struggle and persistence. Beginning with the Jeremiah text, God seems to be set on creating something new with the people, a new covenant. After all the divine disappointment and anger and frustration of the earlier chapters of Jeremiah, God still intends for the well being of the people. The new covenant is a vision of something more lasting.

Proper 23

October 10, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 66:1-12 or Psalm 111
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Reading 4: 
Luke 17:11-19
Alt Reading 1: 
2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
By Rick Marshall

Three of the assigned texts for this week (Jeremiah, 2 Kings and Luke) focus on the important biblical theme of the permeable boundaries between those who are considered insiders and those who are considered outsiders regarding God’s grace. Against those who would like to maintain strict separations and divisions between people based on economics, ethnic identity, social position, religious commitments, God’s involvement in the world is not simply focused on the socially acceptable people, but on all people.

Proper 22

October 3, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Lamentations 1:1-6 or 3:19 -26
Reading 2: 
Psalm 37:1-9
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Reading 4: 
Luke 17:5-10
Alt Reading 1: 
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
By Rick Marshall

That all things are interconnected is a basic premise of process theology. After all, process thought is fundamentally a theology of relationship. This deep interconnectivity is an idea that underlies all the passages for this Sunday, each in its own way. One could say that most of the Bible points to a deep interconnection within creation, and most profoundly, between creation and Creator. Well being depends upon the quality of the relationships within creation and between creation and Creator.

Proper 19

September 16, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
Reading 2: 
Psalm 14
Reading 3: 
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Reading 4: 
Luke 15:1-10
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the text

Proper 18

September 9, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 18:1-12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Reading 3: 
Philemon 1-21
Reading 4: 
Luke 14:25-33
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the text
The assigned verses of Psalm 139 are often read at funerals and are a beautiful expression of divine love. What a contrast to the verses from Psalm 139 which were left out of the lectionary reading! Revenge and such hatred! An Orange County, California pastor has recently come under criticism for using similar texts from the Psalms to pray for the harm of his perceived enemies. Rather than using this text in a sermon, it would be effective to use it in the form of a liturgy, perhaps a responsive reading, or formed into a prayer.

Proper 17

September 2, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 2:4-13
Reading 2: 
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Reading 4: 
Luke 14:1, 7-14
By Rick Marshall

The value of using the lectionary

Proper 16

August 26, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 71:1-6
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 12:18-29
Reading 4: 
Luke 13:10-17
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the text

Proper 15

August 19, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 5:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Reading 4: 
Luke 12:49-56
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the text
Ah, the aroma of a burned heart! We can almost see the smoke rising from these texts, so passionate their love, anger, disappointment. Where there’s smoke, there’s surely fire. The Psalm, Isaiah and Luke texts have the smell of a domestic dispute, one of the most dangerous situations for a police officer to respond to. There’s nothing more lethal than a spurned lover. It might very well be dangerous for the reader and especially the preacher. Enter these texts at your own risk! For the spurned lover is none other than God.

Proper 14

August 12, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Reading 2: 
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Reading 4: 
Luke 12:32-40
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the text

Proper 13

August 5, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Hosea 11:1-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Reading 3: 
Colossians 3:1-11
Reading 4: 
Luke 12:13-21
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the text

Pentecost Sunday

May 23, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 11:1-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Reading 3: 
Acts 2:1-21 or Romans 8:14-17
Reading 4: 
John 14:8-17, (25-27)
By Rick Marshall

Reflecting on preaching

Easter Sunday

March 27, 2005
See Also: 

Year A
Year B
Year C

Sermons:
Nance 2006

Sauter 2003

John Cobb on atonement
John Cobb on redemption
John Cobb on Jesus

Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 31:1-6
Reading 2: 
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Reading 3: 
Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43
Reading 4: 
John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10
By Rick Marshall

Preaching the Resurrection

3rd Sunday after Epiphany

January 21, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Reading 4: 
Luke 4:14-21
By Rick Marshall

Luke 4:14-21

2nd Sunday after Epiphany

January 14, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 4: 
John 2:1-11
By Rick Marshall

Last week the assigned text was the story of Jesus' baptism. That story is the first in Luke's gospel narrative of Jesus' adult ministry. It holds an important position by being first in the narrative, and is key in understanding the rest of the gospel. Likewise, John's story of Jesus changing water into wine is the first story and holds a similar position in this gospel narrative; it provides a key in understanding the rest of the gospel.

1st Sunday after Epiphany

January 7, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 43:1-8
Reading 2: 
Psalm 29
Reading 3: 
Acts 8:14-17
Reading 4: 
Luke 3:15-17
By Rick Marshall

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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