Commentaries Written by Chelsey Harmon

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Matthew 5:1-12 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 4A

According to Matthew, this isn’t Jesus’s first sermon, but it is the first one that Matthew records. Jesus is in Galilee, preaching, teaching, and healing, and drawing crowds from all over—mostly of the sick and those in need of healing. Imagine the people and their needs that Jesus has encountered—both those who he healed, and…

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Matthew 4:12-23 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 3A

Depending on what you preached last week, these two weeks of Lectionary passages from different gospels may leave you with some explaining to do—particularly if you made a big deal about the calling narrative of Andrew and Peter last week! For here we are again, in a new geographical setting, hearing about them becoming disciples…

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John 1:29-42 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 2A

Our text this week is yet another transition story between John and Jesus. This time, John “pushes his disciples out of the nest” by urging them to follow Jesus, the Lamb of God. We are to understand that John has already baptized Jesus, since he’s seen the sign God told him about: the Holy Spirit…

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Matthew 3:13-17 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 1A

In the early third century church, it was the baptism of Jesus that focused the Epiphany celebration, not the visit of the Magi. In fact, Epiphany was included with Easter and Pentecost as the major Christian festivals marked by the Church (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church). In the fourth century, Epiphany came to…

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Matthew 2:13-23 Sermon Commentary

Christmas 1A

Comments, Questions, and Observations This story is the Magi’s quick appearance in Year A—they are the ones who have just left in verse 13.  Our little family is at the center of an evil maelstrom, plucked out by Joseph’s willingness to continue to be obedient to the Lord’s messenger angel. The journey the angel commands…

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Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) Sermon Commentary

Christmas Day A

Here we are, Christmas on a Sunday. Merry Christmas! This year, I’m especially appreciating the way that Luke subtly weaves together various postures and social positions in his birth narrative. As Luke Timothy Johnson aptly puts it, “Luke’s manner is to show how God’s fidelity is worked out in human events when appearances seem to…

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Matthew 1:18-25 Sermon Commentary

Advent 4A

Comments, Questions, and Observations Oddly, we close out Advent this year with the birthing story. Matthew’s birth narrative doesn’t usually get much attention on Christmas day because it’s rather anti-climactic in comparison to the Luke’s—our tried and true Christmas story. As I discuss in the textual points section below, we don’t even get the actual…

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Matthew 11:2-11 Sermon Commentary

Advent 3A

Comments, Questions and Observations We are a far cry from last week’s gospel lectionary text. Then, John was fire and brimstone, calling out the people of God, baptizing and supporting people’s repentance work. Now, months later in the gospel timeline, John is in a prison-cave cell at Herod Antipas’ Machaerus fortress—itself in the wilderness land…

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Matthew 3:1-12 Sermon Commentary

Advent 2A

Comments, Questions, and Observations During Advent we follow God’s people to the wilderness and heed the prophetic wisdom of John the Baptist. What was true for waiting for the coming Messiah still holds for those waiting for the second and final advent of our King. Was it John’s eccentric ways that drew the crowds to…

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Matthew 24:36-44 Sermon Commentary

Advent 1A

Comments, Questions, and Observations Here we are at the beginning of the Christian year; advent has begun, and we are reminded that we are people who are waiting. If you follow the gospel lectionary, then you know that we ended the year with a celebration of Jesus Christ and the kind of reign he has…

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