Psalm 89: 1-52

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Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • Sermon Starters (Advent 4B)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    I have perhaps used this illustration before in some other connection here on the CEP website but the psalmist’s posture of praise in the midst of lament and suffering definitely puts me in mind of the end of Maya Angelou’s classic essay “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” It goes like this: Back in the 1930s and 1940s Maya lived with her family in the Deep South where her parents ran a small grocery store. One day when Maya’s Mama was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the store, a group of white girls came by and decided to spend some time mocking Mama. They laughed at her for being black. They said nasty, racially wounding things. One 13-year-old girl did a handstand at one point, allowing her dress to fall down around her shoulders to reveal she was not wearing any underwear. So she mooned Mama with her bare bottom and her bare front. And watching her Mama from a corner of the porch, young Maya was furious that Mama did not do something, say something, shoo those nasty girls away. But Mama stayed calm and as Maya moved a little closer to her Mama, Maya could hear her singing softly, “Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more.” The girls tired of the show eventually and left. And as Mama stood up to return to the store, Maya could hear her singing softly again “Glory hallelujah when I lay my burden down. Glory hallelujah when I lay my burden down.”
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 11B)(2018)

    by Stan Mast
    I recently heard a Lutheran pastor in Arizona tell the true story about a friend who is a hospital chaplain. This chaplain called on a woman who was dying of lung cancer. She did not receive him well. She was an embittered Catholic who said, “I hate the church. Get the hell out of here.” As he slunk out of her room, the charge nurse caught his sleeve. “She gets two cigarettes a day at 3 PM. Come back then and take her to the smoking area.” That’s exactly what the chaplain did. But nothing happened. She sat and smoked in smoldering silence. But he kept coming back. After a number of days, she began to tell her story, a story of a hard life filled with abuse and deprivation, and now this sentence of death. One day, after one more expression of bitterness and despair, she asked the chaplain to get her a crucifix. And even though he wasn’t Catholic, he did. When she received that crucifix, she clasped it to her chest and held it there, day after day. Then, just two days before she lapsed into a coma and died, she said, “Do you want to know why I wanted this crucifix? It reminds me that he knows. There is nothing I’ve been through that he hasn’t been through. He knows. He’s been there.” He’s been there, even there in the darkness of the cross, when he cried out with the writer and readers of Psalm 89, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Because he has been there, we never will be, even when we are convinced that we are.
  • Proper 11B (2018)

    by James Runcorn
  • Proper 8A (2020)

    by Paul K.-K. Cho
  • Exegesis (Psalm 89)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Proper 8A (2020)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 8A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    the psalmist’s posture of praise in the midst of lament and suffering definitely puts me in mind of the end of Maya Angelou’s classic essay “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” It goes like this: Back in the 1930s and 1940s Maya lived with her family in the Deep South where her parents ran a small grocery store. One day when Maya’s Mama was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the store, a group of white girls came by and decided to spend some time mocking Mama. They laughed at her for being black. They said nasty, racially wounding things. One 13-year-old girl did a handstand at one point, allowing her dress to fall down around her shoulders to reveal she was not wearing any underwear. So she mooned Mama with her bare bottom and her bare front. And watching her Mama from a corner of the porch, young Maya was furious that Mama did not do something, say something, shoo those nasty girls away. But Mama stayed calm and as Maya moved a little closer to her Mama, Maya could hear her singing softly, “Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more.” The girls tired of the show eventually and left. And as Mama stood up to return to the store, Maya could hear her singing softly again “Glory hallelujah when I lay my burden down. Glory hallelujah when I lay my burden down.”
  • Proper 8A (2020)

    by Aimee Niles
  • Advent 4B (2020)

    by W. Dennis Tucker, Jr.
  • Advent 4B

    by Howard Wallace

Resources from 2014 to 2017

  • Proper 8A (2014)

    by Walter Bouzard
  • Proper 8A (2017)

    by Paul K.-K. Cho
  • Reviving Love

    by Bob Cornwall
  • God's Fidelity

    by June Mears Driedger
  • Waiting with Love

    Video Starter with Nikki Hardeman
  • Proper 8A (2017)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Ordinary 13A (2014)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Advent 4B (2017)

    by Diane Jacobson
  • Proper 8A (2017)

    by Stan Mast
    A little boy, tears streaming down his face, reacts to his parents’ announcement that they can’t go on that long planned family vacation to Disney World. “But you promised. You promised.” A shattered spouse, confronted with news of her husband’s unfaithfulness, screams, “But you promised. You promised.” The retired miners have gathered at their union hall to hear from the head of the company they had served for 30 or more back breaking years. “I’m sorry, but the company is going through hard times. We’re going to cancel your pensions.” And they shout, “But you promised. You promised.” Those words capture the disappointment, despair, and darkness of Psalm 89.
  • Advent 4B (2014)

    by Stan Mast
    Nearly everyone in your audience will relate to the ubiquitous question asked by children at the beginning of a long trip. “Are we there yet?” When the patient parent explains that it will be a long time before we’re there, the inevitable follow up is, “How long will it be?” While not downplaying the pain of suffering saints, it is important to assure folks that God’s sense of timing is not ours. Like every good parent, his love and faithfulness give us assurance that he will get his children safely home.
  • Proper 8A (2017)

    by Aimee Niles
  • Proper 11B (2015)

    by Wesley White