Romans 12: 9-21

New Resources

  • Returning to the Scene

    by Christopher Ashley
  • Guilt That Burns

    by Liddy Barlow
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 17A)(2020)

    by Doug Bratt
    In an article in the June 15, 2017 Washington Post entitled, “When a Black Woman Has Maximum Ancestors,” Deesha Philtaw writes about Jennifer Teeg. As an adult Teeg learned her biological grandfather was Amon Goeth, the infamous commandant of the Plaszov-Krakow concentration camp. While she never knew him, she learned her grandmother who’d cared for her was Goeth’s common-law wife. Teeg’s grandma died “in denial about the human suffering she witnessed and was still madly in love with a man who tortured others for pleasure.” Human psychology, Philtaw ultimately concludes, “can permit us to continue loving people even as we condemn their actions.”
  • Exegesis (Romans 12:9-21)

    by Richard Niell Donovan
  • Let Love Be Genuine

    by Laurie Gudim
  • Proper 17A (2020)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Proper 17A (2020)

    by Israel Kamudzandu
  • Proper 17A

    by Bill Loader
  • The Hounds of Hell

    by Sandra Miller
    PEN America sent an email on Wednesday, just as I was struggling to find a way to say what I wanted to say. How can we be better when this nightmare is over? That was the question Dave Eggers and I [Wajahat Ali] asked, as we emailed back and forth in April before George Floyd’s murder. We had the admittedly audacious hope that we could come out of the coronavirus crisis as a better people. We arrived at the phrase “We Will Emerge” and asked writers and thinkers to use that as a springboard. I will share just one with you from Andrew Zimmern (a Jewish-American culinary expert, chef, restaurateur, television personality, and though not my favorite person, his piece stood out): We will emerge and be more empathetic. In enduring great tragedies, human beings can rise up and out from their ordeal with an increased capacity for expressing more patience, kindness, and care for each other. After racing to grocery stores to get food for our children, will we see refugees abroad seeking better lives for their own children the same way ever again? After many of us wait in lines for basic social services in the COVID-19 era, who among us can ignore our brothers and sisters for whom that’s always been a part of life? After this terrible viral crisis abates, how can we continue to ignore our broken and inequitable food system that works so well for one America and fails the second one so completely? After struggling to find quality care for our own loved ones or standard protective equipment for frontline responders, who could tolerate a society that doesn’t provide our best for, well, everyone?...
  • The Power of Grace

    by Glenn Monson
  • Proper 17A (2020)

    by Ryan Quanstrom
    Today is a good day to remember Krister Stendahl’s advice to preachers: If your preaching is doing what it should do, then people probably won’t remember what you said, and it doesn’t matter. Your goal should be that the next time they turn to that part of the Bible, it will say a little more to them. The purpose of preaching is to give the text a little more room to shine...

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Quality Above Power

    by Myron Augsburger
    ("A few years ago I was lecturing in a university in Moscow. This was a special meeting for faculty members of universities of the area and several hundred had come together. I was speaking to them about Christian ethics and free market, an attempt to somehow help them in the transition from the kind of world they had known for the last seventy years to a new age of freedom..." and several other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Illustrations (Romans 12:15)

    from Biblical Studies
  • Illustrations (Romans 12:20)

    from Biblical Studies
  • Illustrations (Romans 12:21)

    from Biblical Studies
  • Reverse Divine Psychology

    by Gwen Drake
    "Barbara Brown Taylor tells this story about her nephew Will's first birthday party. He was a chubby and bald little boy, typical only child, used to being the center of attention, not spoiled because he didn't know yet how to manipulate love for his own ends. He just thought that everyone was loved the way he was, and he gave his love away as fast as he got it..."
  • Interpersonal Behaviors or International Policy?

    by Beth Herrinton-Hodge
    Scroll down the page for this resource.

    Last week, President Trump gave a speech outlining his approach to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Trump said that “a successful military effort was a necessary precondition to political reconciliation.” In the words of the New York Times editorial board, the president indicated that what we are left with in our entanglement with Afghanistan is “a set of intentions, which are what? Nothing less than ‘victory,’ he said, because ‘in the end, we will win.’ But what constitutes victory

  • Proper 17A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt had for many years a key political operative in his corner named Louis Howe. Howe was a chain smoker and hard drinker who also had the physical appearance of a gnome—he used to give Eleanor Roosevelt the creeps. But he was hard-driving and shrewd, and FDR needed this as his own tendencies to go along to get along may not have served him well in the hardball arena of politics. One of Howe’s characteristics is that he never forgave anyone who had ever slighted FDR even a little...
  • Romeo and Jesus? Christians Have Always Been Unrepentant Romantics.

    by Terrance Klein
    Just as the strongest hatred never arrives at a fully satisfying revenge, our acts of love will never be complete, never be without human limitation, but they are all the more lovely, all the more human, because we rise to the attempt. This is why a handful of daisies, gathered by a child who loves his mother, is much more an esteemed expression of love than a dozen roses, purchased online with a credit card and delivered by the florist. The greater the discrepancy between the ardor of the lover and the perfection of the gift, the more we admire such unrepentant romanticism as the truest of loves.
  • Bitesized Wisdom

    by Anne Le Bas
    I read a news story this week about a young woman from Florida, Angela King, who had grown up in a racist, anti-semitic and homophobic environment. As a teenager she had fallen in with a neo-Nazi gang and had become a far-right extremist, plastered with white supremacist tattoos. Eventually she was jailed for a vicious attack on a Jewish shop assistant, and was sent to prison. And there in the prison she found herself confronted with the very people she had always hated and feared most – many of her fellow prisoners were African-Americans. She couldn’t avoid them.
  • How Should the Church Handle People with Grief, Illness and Sadness in the Congregation?

    by Dave Russell
    Following the death of his wife many years ago, Martin Marty wrote a wonderful little book that was a reflection on some of the Psalms called A Cry of Absence. He speaks of two kinds of spirituality – a summery spirituality, characterized by happiness and praise and a warmth of spirit. The summer season of the soul is a time of joy and hope and certainty. But there is another kind of spirituality, which Marty calls a wintry spirituality. He notes that about half of the Psalms fit with this season of the spirit. When death comes, when absence creates pain, in times of discouragement and worry and fear and foreboding, in times when God seems to us to be absent – these are winter times of the heart. And Marty notes that we are all subject to these times. They can come suddenly, without warning. And for some people, the wintry season of faith is an especially long season. So maybe the first thing to acknowledge is that when we ask this question – when we ask how should the church relate to folks who are hurting – is that we are not just talking about other people, we are potentially talking about ourselves...
  • Let God Be Free. That's What Love Is.

    by Pat Smith
    Katie Couric was interviewing a man. Beside him sat the young man who had murdered his son. The father had not only let go of his anger, hurt and need for revenge, he had visited his son’s murderer in prison to ask why, and to learn what made the murderer do what he did. As he learned about the young man, he befriended him and over time, he even embraced him like a son, with the sincere goal of helping him to become all he could be. The father’s rationale was similar to that of the mother of the daughter killed by the drunk driver - his son was gone but he wanted the young man who had killed his son to live a good and meaningful life. Then, something good would come out of the tragedy and at least a second life wouldn’t be lost, too...
  • The Home Court Advantage

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("In mid-August the basketball team of Georgetown University, the 'Hoyas', set out on a ten day 'good will tour' of China. They played various Chinese teams in an effort to foster good feelings between the USA and China. The basketball games were a kind of 'visual aid' to accompany vice-president Joe Biden's concurrent visit with Chinese political leaders...")
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Romans 12)

    by Various Authors
    A story came to mind from an elderly African-American woman with whom I used to volunteer at an emergency food program in Portland. She told me that when her kids were in high school, they hung out in a racially mixed group of friends. It came time for the prom, and while it wasn't overt, the black kids were being excluded. When this group of friends realized what was happening, the white kids decided they weren't going to go to the prom if their black friends couldn't go. So they all went out together somewhere else on prom night.
  • When Only Compassion Will Do

    by Carl Wilton
    A couple years ago, Pope Francis was visiting Manila, in the Philippines. He was conducting a question-and-answer session before a huge crowd of people when a 12-year-old girl named Glyzelle Palomar took the microphone. Glyzelle had a question for the pope. This is what she said: “There are many children neglected by their own parents. There are also many who became victims and many terrible things happened to them, like drugs or prostitution. Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only very few people helping us?”...

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