Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

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  • Hopeful Waiting

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
  • Exegesis (Psalm 80)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Sermon Starters (Advent 1A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In the very fine film The Queen, there is a scene in which the newly elected British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife are brought to Buckingham Palace for the new P.M. to meet with Queen Elizabeth who will formally authorize his forming a government in the Queen’s name. Mrs. Blair is no fan of the royals and so chafes a bit under the tutelage her husband and she is given by the Queen’s chief valet as he prepares Prime Minister Blair to meet with the Queen for the first time. ‘When you are in The Presence . . .” he says. Causing Mr. Blair to exclaim, “The Presence?” “Yes, that is what we call it when you are in her Majesty’s company.” They are then told to bow from the neck, to remember that it is “Ma’am as in the rhyme for ‘ham.’” And one is never to turn one’s back to the Queen, which in the scene makes for a bit of comedy as they eventually back out of the room literally walking backwards. You can watch the scene here—it’s worth watching!...
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 22A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In the very fine film The Queen, there is a scene in which the newly elected British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife are brought to Buckingham Palace for the new P.M. to meet with Queen Elizabeth who will formally authorize his forming a government in the Queen’s name. Mrs. Blair is no fan of the royals and so chafes a bit under the tutelage her husband and she is given by the Queen’s chief valet as he prepares Prime Minister Blair to meet with the Queen for the first time. ‘When you are in The Presence . . .” he says. Causing Mr. Blair to exclaim, “The Presence?” “Yes, that is what we call it when you are in her Majesty’s company.” They are then told to bow from the neck, to remember that it is “Ma’am as in the rhyme for ‘ham.’” And one is never to turn one’s back to the Queen, which in the scene makes for a bit of comedy as they eventually back out of the room literally walking backwards. You can watch the scene here—it’s worth watching! To many of us it all seems rather elaborate. We’re too democratic in our thinking, too egalitarian to think such a fuss should be made over just another person. But throughout most of history—and certainly back in ancient Israel’s time—such things were common when meeting a king or queen or other powerful figure, and for Israel such things were to be magnified a thousand-fold when it came to pondering appearing before God’s face.
  • Advent 1B (2020)

    by James K. Mead
  • Proper 22A (2020)

    by Paul O. Myhre
  • Proper 22A (2020)

    by Katie Savage

Resources from 2019

  • Advent 4A (2019)

    by Jason Byassee
  • Sermon Starters (Advent 4A)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    It’s been making the rounds on Facebook and no doubt some—even some reading this sermon starter—will deem it to be crass partisan politics and no more. But it is more. Someone decided to take the usual nativity scene that can be seen on the front lawns of so many churches in December and depict it in ways that remind us of at least two things at once: first, Christ came into this world because it is a broken, divided place. But second, the Holy Family really was a refugee family that had to flee to Egypt in order to save the life of Baby Jesus. And in Egypt, Mary and Joseph were exiles for a time until it was safe to return to Palestine and to Nazareth. Were they put into cages? No, probably not. It appears that despite their refugee status, Mary, Joseph, and God’s incarnate Son were saved and kept safe for a time (no one is totally sure for how long). But they were as vulnerable as refugees and exiles perennially are in this world...
  • How Long, O Lord?

    by Kim Jenne
  • Proper 15C (2019)

    by David Johnston
  • Ancient Vines, Ancient Cultures

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The cultivation of vines was certainly known in Egypt by the time of an ancient Egyptian official named Nakht. The walls of his tomb in Thebes is covered with paintings, including the one below that shows people tending grapes on the vine, stomping the grapes, performing the ancient equivalent of "bottling" the wine...
  • Advent 4A (2019)

    by James Matthew Price
  • Proper 15C (2019)

    by Karen Thompson
    Scroll down the page for a reflection on this text.

Resources from 2016 to 2018

  • Advent 4A (2016)

    by Paul Berge
  • The Son of Adam

    by Dan Clendenin
    Dennis Covington calls his new memoir Revelation (2016) "a search for faith in a violent religious world." Revelation connects Covington's journey in and out of faith with his family history, current events of today, his travels around the world, and the witnesses to faith that he sees in the people he meets — which is to say that he does what each one of us must do in our own search for authentic faith in our violent world. He travels to places of extremity and discovers faith not so much despite suffering and violence, but precisely in and because of that apparent absence of the presence of God. He quotes Kayla Mueller, the American aid worker who was abducted and then murdered by ISIS in 2015: "Some people find God in church, some people find God in nature, some people find God in love, I find God in suffering."
  • Restore Us, O God

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Advent 4C (2018)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Advent 4A (2016)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Proper 27A (2017)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Preaching Helps (Advent 4C)(2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In a speech he once gave at Calvin College’s “Festival of Faith & Writing,” the Nobel Prize winning author Elie Wiesel talked about Psalms of Lament. He noted that the apparent courage and chutzpah it takes to yell to God and complain to God is so typical of the Jewish mentality and spirituality. A Jew, Wiesel noted, can be for God, with God, delighted in God, angry with God, against God but the one thing that can never be true for a Jew is to be with without God.
  • Come Down, Shine Forth

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
  • Advent 1B (2017)

    by James Mead
  • Proper 22A (2017)

    by Paul Myhre
  • Advent Blessings

    by Steve Pankey
  • Proper 22A (2017)

    by Katie Savage

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