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Showing posts from 2018

Sermon for Christmas Eve, "The Verbs of Christmas," Luke 2:1-20

Sermon 12/24/18 Luke 2:1-20 The Verbs of Christmas As I shared in my Christmas letter this year, I recently finished reading Anna Carter Florence’s book Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community . Anna Carter Florence is a professor of preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary, and I have had the privilege of hearing her preach and lecture when I’ve attended the Festival of Homiletics, a preaching conference. Two memorable times stick out to me. Once, she designed her preaching and worship around the conference, held in May, as an Easter Morning Service. We started out singing Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, and she preached a resurrection sermon. Like most of the other attendees, I’m usually leading worship on Easter Sunday, not attending worship. It’s been 15 years or so since I just attended worship on Easter Morning. I didn’t realize how much I had needed it. I think I cried through the whole service. And this last year she preached on the book of Job, on

Sermon, "Advent in Narnia: Aslan Is on the Move," Micah 3:1-7, Luke 1:26-38, 46-55

Sermon 12/23/18 Micah 3:1-7, Luke 1:26-38, 46-55 Advent in Narnia: Aslan Is on the Move When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie first meet Mr. Beaver in Narnia, he says to them nearly right away, “They say Aslan is on the move - perhaps has already landed.” Aslan is the great lion, the true King of Narnia, the Christ figure of the series. But up until this point, none of the children have ever heard this name mentioned. Mr. Tumnus hadn’t mentioned Aslan to Lucy, and the White Witch certainly did not mention Aslan to Edmund. So at first, the children only have this name that Mr. Beaver speaks to them, as he indicates he wants to take them to see Aslan soon . Each child reacts differently to hearing the name of Aslan. The narrator describes it to us: “Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it has some enormous meaning - either a terrifying one which turns the whole dr

Sermon, "Advent in Narnia: Father Christmas," 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Ephesians 6:10-20

Sermon 12/16/18 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Ephesians 6:10-20 Advent in Narnia: Father Christmas Did you make a Christmas wish list as a child? Do you still? Maybe you made a list to give to Santa. I know my mom always requested a list from me, to get ideas, and I loved going to the big Christmas catalogs from Sears and JCPenney and picking out some of the things I’d like to get, imagining opening all those presents on Christmas morning. These days, my family exchanges Amazon Wish Lists. Sometime in November I send an email around with a link to everybody’s wish list page on Amazon. It’s just so easy, since Amazon has taken over the world and everything. I use my list all year as a sort of bookmark. If I come across a review for a good book I want to read, I just toss it on my list, and then, when I have a little extra money, I shop for myself. At Christmas, it is just as simple as inviting others to shop for me too off of my well-prepared, up-to-date list. These days, I find

Sermon, "Advent in Narnia: Always Winter, Never Christmas," Romans 8:18-25, Isaiah 55:1-5

Sermon 12/9/18 Isaiah 55:1-5, Romans 8:18-25 Advent in Narnia: Always Winter, Never Christmas Last week I mentioned that Lucy’s older siblings eventually make it to Narnia too, and that’s true. But I sort of skipped over just how her brother Edmund arrives in Narnia. Edmund is the second youngest sibling. In the opening chapter of the book, we find that Edmund frequently seems to be at odds with his siblings. He seems to resent Susan and Peter when they tell him what to do and make him feel like a baby, and in turn, he also seems to enjoy lording his age, his “wisdom and knowledge” over Lucy, wanting to make her feel silly and immature. Stuck together without parents present for days on end, the four Pevensie children are not exactly models of kindness to each other. We talked at our Advent study this week about sibling relationships. How many of you have at least one sibling? I shared that nothing can make me feel so much like I’m 12 again than the arguments that I’ll som

Sermon, "Advent in Narnia: The Wardrobe and the Lamppost," Isaiah 9:1-7, Matthew 7:13-14, John 1:1-9

Sermon 12/2/18 Isaiah 9:1-7, Matthew 7:13-14, John 1:1-9 Advent in Narnia: The Wardrobe and The Lamppost Today is the First Sunday of Advent. And this year, we’re spending Advent in Narnia. How many of you have read the book or watched the movie The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe? The book is the first in the series of seven books called The Chronicles of Narnia , written by theologian C.S. Lewis for his goddaughter Lucy. Lewis wrote the books in the late 1940s and first half of the 1950s. Lewis is the author of Christian classics like Mere Christianity , Miracles , and The Problem of Pain , but in his Chronicles , written for children, he shows a whimsical imagination and a more grace-centered theology than we find elsewhere in his works (in my opinion at least!) The Chronicles can be read with a secular worldview, but the books are laden with Christian imagery, heavy with meaning. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe , set during a long winter in the magical land of N