process biblical interpretation

2nd Sunday in Lent

February 24, 2002
See Also: 

Lenten Candle Liturgy
John Cobb on redemption
Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Reading 1: 
Genesis 12:1-4a
Reading 2: 
Psalm 121
Reading 3: 
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
Reading 4: 
John 3:1-17
By Barry A. Woodbridge

The second Sunday in Lent presents a varied lectionary which should strongly prompt the initial question: What do all these texts have to do with the season of Lent?

Genesis 12 Yahweh calls Abraham into a covenant; Abraham enters it by leaving his country.

Psalm 121 From whence does our help come?

Romans 4 Abraham is reckoned righteous not by his works but by faith.

John 3 Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night.

1st Sunday in Lent

February 10, 2008
See Also: 

Lenten Candle Liturgy
John Cobb on redemption
Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Reading 1: 
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 32
Reading 3: 
Romans 5:12-19
Reading 4: 
Matthew 4:1-11
By Rick Marshall

If there is a season for creative transformation, it is Lent-Easter. What other season expresses so well the theme of death being transformed into new life in unexpected ways? Many biblical stories describe God creating a way out of no way, or creating a future where there is only despair. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate paradigm of how the transforming power of God works. Preaching during Lent-Easter will be variations on this theme.

1st Sunday in Lent

February 13, 2005
See Also: 

Lenten Candle Liturgy
John Cobb on redemption
Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Reading 1: 
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 32
Reading 3: 
Romans 5:12-19
Reading 4: 
Matthew 4:1-11
By Rick Marshall

Who am I going to trust?
On this first Sunday in Lent, some of the basic terms and metaphors of the season of Lent are set out in the selected scriptures. Each one of them deals with the theme of boundaries and the temptation to break the boundaries and what the dire results have been in human existence. Of course, the Good News is that there is another way, provided by God, embodied in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to live in the world that leads to life and not death. But first, the bad news.

1st Sunday in Lent

February 17, 2002
See Also: 

Lenten Candle Liturgy
John Cobb on redemption
Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Reading 1: 
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 32
Reading 3: 
Romans 5: 12-19
Reading 4: 
Matthew 4: 1-11
By Barry A. Woodbridge

If the last Sunday in Epiphany were Transfiguration Sunday, this First Sunday in Lent has to be Temptation Sunday, but no one ever chooses to call it that.

1st Sunday of Advent

December 2, 2007
See Also: 

Advent Liturgy

John Cobb on Incarnation

Daniel Day Williams on incarnation
Preaching Christmas

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 2:1-5
Reading 2: 
Psalm 122
Reading 3: 
Romans 13:11-14
Reading 4: 
Matt 24:36-44
By Paul S. Nancarrow

The season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming (Latin adventus) of Christ. We usually think of this as preparing for the church’s remembrance of the coming of Christ in the birth of Jesus, celebrated in the feast of Christmas. But another ancient theme in the Advent season is preparing for the coming of Christ at the end of time, the “second” coming in which this created order will be deconstructed and reconstructed into the realized Reign of God.

1st Sunday of Advent

November 28, 2004
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 2:1-5
Reading 2: 
Psalm 122
Reading 3: 
Romans 13: 11-14
Reading 4: 
Matthew 24:36-44
By John B. Cobb, Jr.

What is most striking about the passages selected for the first Sunday of Advent is that none of them deal with the coming of Jesus. The closest, I suppose, is Matthew 24:36-44, but this is talking about the coming of the Son of Man. Whether Jesus actually predicted this event is a matter of dispute among scholars, but the text places these words on the lips of the Jesus who has already come. Unless it is understood as a promise of his own return, the connection of the passage to anticipation of Jesus is very slight.

1st Sunday of Advent

December 2, 2001
See Also: 

Year A
Year B
Year C

Advent Candle Liturgy

John Cobb on Incarnation
Daniel Day Williams on incarnation
Preaching Christmas

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 2: 1-5
Reading 2: 
Psalm 122
Reading 3: 
Romans 13: 11-14
Reading 4: 
Matthew 24: 36-44
By Bruce G. Epperly

"A Time of Becoming"

Proper 26 Reformation Sunday

October 31, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
Reading 2: 
Psalm 119:137-144
Reading 3: 
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Reading 4: 
Luke 19:1-10
By Bruce G. Epperly

Today’s readings portray faithfulness amid challenge. As Habakkuk proclaims, “the righteous live by their faith.” Faith always expects that reality is more than meets the eye. While faith is grounded in a realistic assessment of our personal and social context, it joins realism with openness to unexpected divine possibilities and energies. Neither our financial situation, nor our medical diagnosis or congregational budget tells the whole story of our lives or the world.

Proper 25

October 24, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Joel 2:23-32
Reading 2: 
Psalm 65
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Reading 4: 
Luke 18:9-14
By Bruce G. Epperly

What does it mean to say that God is faithful? In the spirit of my Baptist roots, one of my favorite hymns is “Great is Your Faithfulness.” After our son recovered from a rare cancer, this gospel hymn burst forth from my heart and lips:

Proper 24

October 17, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 31:27-34
Reading 2: 
Psalm 119:97-104
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Reading 4: 
Luke 18:1-8
By Bruce G. Epperly

Today’s lectionary readings are about the interplay of divine call and human response, and the objective and subjective aspects of faith. Despite the post-modern critique of the quest for a universal ethic or world view, people of faith nevertheless affirm certain guideposts for the journey. While we affirm the evolving nature of faith and need for humility whenever we speak about God, these guideposts give us a sense of values, of what we can live and die for – they provide a spiritual compass for our holy adventure as companions of the living God.

Proper 23

October 10, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 66:1-12
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Reading 4: 
Luke 17:11-19
By Bruce G. Epperly

Today’s scriptures weave together images of joy, hope, and gratitude. Jeremiah is almost giddy with hope and confidence in God’s future for the people. After years of struggle and hardship, the prophet proclaims that “happy days are here again,” or just around the corner. God is doing a new thing and hope is in the air. The nation will be restored to new glory. And so the prophet counsels, “Buy homes, get married, have children!” The upturn Jeremiah is expecting is both spiritual and economic. God will provide a future and a hope for the nation.

Proper 22

October 3, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Lamentations 1:1-6
Reading 2: 
Psalm 137
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Reading 4: 
Luke 17:5-10
By Bruce G. Epperly

This week’s readings present a challenge to the preacher. Should he or she disregard the readings from Psalm 137 and Lamentations as too theologically problematic and thus avoid reading them in church, or attempt to challenge their theology and use the texts as opportunity to present alternative visions of God’s relationship with the world. One caution: if they are read in church, you must address them. Too often, morally and spiritually challenging passages are read with no commentary.

Proper 21

September 26, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Reading 2: 
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16
Reading 3: 
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Reading 4: 
Luke 16:19-31
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 146
Alt Reading 1: 
Amos 6:1a, 4-7
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the texts
The texts for this Sunday have to do with wealth and property, and the possibilities and the pitfalls of money.

Proper 15

August 15, 2010
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
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 82
Alt Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 23:23-29
By Rick Marshall

Reflecting on preaching

Proper 16

August 22, 2010
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
Alt Reading 1: 
Isaiah 58:9b-14
By Rick Marshall

Reflecting on preaching

Proper 17

August 29, 2010
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

Reflecting on preaching
Sometimes, when I’m in a quiet place and trying to be in the present moment, I am aware of the mental chatter of my mind that pulls me in so many different directions. The description of the mind’s chatter is aptly called “monkey mind. I have found that simple breathing techniques help me tune into the present moment, in spite of my mind’s own agenda. I find myself listening to the sounds around me, and to my mind that is chattering away. I observe and listen and focus on breathing.

Proper 18

September 5, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 18:1-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Reading 3: 
Philemon 1-21
Reading 4: 
Luke 14:25-33
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 1
Alt Reading 1: 
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
By Rick Marshall

Reflecting on preaching

Proper 19

September 12, 2010
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
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 51:1-10
Alt Reading 1: 
Exodus 32:7-14
By Rick Marshall

Discussing the texts

Proper 20

September 19, 2010
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Reading 2: 
Psalm 79:1-9
Reading 3: 
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Reading 4: 
Luke 16:1-13
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 113
Alt Reading 1: 
Amos 8:4-7
By Rick Marshall

Reflecting on preaching
Clergy burnout has been in the news lately. Studies are often published, books and articles written, about the subject. NPR recently had a half-hour program with the title “Clergy Suffering From Burnout, Poor Health.” An op-ed piece appeared recently in the New York Times by Jeffrey MacDonald, a UCC pastor, about clergy burnout. This recent flurry of attention might raise awareness in church pews, but not in church pulpits; clergy are well acquainted with the state of burnout.

Syndicate content