Poetry paints pictures with words. Poems express thoughts and feelings, intuitions and experiences in ways that descriptive prose cannot do.
The language of poetry is the language of the indicative mood. Poetry does not declare itself to us; poetry does not instruct us to do this or that; poetry indicates. It points toward reality, and asks us to look and say if that is how it is. Read More »
This morning I am beginning a series of sermons on the letter to the Colossians, a series that will continue through the end of the summer. In the ancient, preachers would preach through the scripture verse by verse in a practice called lectio continua. They would preach verse by verse until the congregation couldn’t take it anymore, then stop and pick up where they left off next week. We’re not going to do that. But from now through August, we will journey through this letter to the church at Colossae.
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Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted much to this blog. In the last several months, our family has moved and I’ve started a new call/job at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. So there’s been a lot of settling in, finding out, and getting up to speed. All of that has put blog posting on the back burner.
But things are settling down and finding a rhythm, and it’s time to post again. This summer I am preaching through the letter to the Colossians. Perhaps not the easiest summer preaching agenda, but I had an urge to do it – and I try to follow those urges.
Preaching through a book of the Bible is an ancient preaching practice called lectio continua, a practice the Protestant Reformers also took up. The Reformers’ purpose was to to recover the biblical and theological literacy, and to move away from what had become fashionable in Renaissance preaching, which was to preach topically on a virtue or subject of interest.
Preaching lectio continua takes us into texts we would not otherwise have encountered, and allows us to go deeper into one theological and biblical vein than we ordinarily do. To the preacher and the hearer, that is both challenging and rewarding!
This morning, I am beginning a series of sermons, entitled “Called Out.” The title comes from the word in the New Testament word that is translated for the church. The word is ekklesia, and it literally means “the community that is called out.” We, the church, are not a collection of individuals who gather once a week. We are a community. We are not a private sect or club that gathers in secret where only members are welcome. We are a public community. The church is a public community that is called out of darkness to walk in the light of Christ so that the world can see a picture of the kingdom of God.
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The women who came to the first Easter morning had their hands full. That’s appropriate. Whatever our traditions are, we usually come into worship on Resurrection Sunday with our hands full. Some of you came bearing food for a potluck. Some came carrying instruments to play in worship. Some of you were carrying children in your arms; some of you were trying to park the car and shepherd your family to their seats. We come to Easter with our hands full and with our hearts full: full of anticipation. We anticipate being together for the day; we anticipate shouting He is Risen!; we anticipate hearing a trumpet play a descant, singing Alleluia with a full congregation. Some of you may have even anticipated hearing a good sermon. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you, you can’t have everything you want.Read More »
In the last month, as our family has drifted here and there making our way to Asheville, people have asked me what day I was starting. When I would tell them the third Sunday of Advent, sometimes I would get a quizzical look, like that’s an odd time to start. But today I cannot think of a better day to start. The 3rd Sunday of Advent is known in the church year by its Latin name, Gaudete Sunday. — which means “Be Joyful Sunday!” That’s why the Advent candle for today is pink instead of purple. The heaviness of Advent is lighter on this Sunday. Today is Be Joyful Sunday. The prophet Zephaniah in the 7th century B.C., and then some six hundred years later, Paul the apostle both begin the texts I read with the same command: “Be joyful!”
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Well, it’s official! While it is hard to say goodbye to family, dear friends and our church community in Frenchtown NJ, Caitlin and I are excited to announce this new call to Asheville, North Carolina. In December, I will begin a new chapter in ministry as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Asheville. We feel such a sense of call and excitement for this next season of life and ministry, and thank you for your good wishes and prayers. The church’s announcement is at the link below!