Commentaries Written by Chelsey Harmon

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Luke 3.1-6 Sermon Commentary

Advent 2C

This week and next we are listening to John the Baptist, who is set up here as a prophet. The signs are obvious (once you know how to see them). First, there’s the clear shift in the text from chapter 2, as Luke provides political context to pinpoint the actual historical moment that John’s message…

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Luke 21:25-36 Sermon Commentary

Advent 1C

Diana Butler Bass says it well when she reflects on the way we get right into it. “Advent 1 slaps us with the uncertainty and violence of human history.” From the get go, we’re told that there will be natural signs of turmoil, political distress, and chaos will hover over the earth, seemingly inescapable. Fear…

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John 18:33-37 Sermon Commentary

Proper 29B

It is the last Sunday in the liturgical year and the lectionary marks it as Christ the King Sunday by bringing us deep into the Passion week narrative to Jesus’ encounter with Pilate. It can be a little jarring to just jump here from the teaching ministry in Mark, but a liturgical focus on Christ…

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Mark 13:1-8 Sermon Commentary

Proper 28B

Between this week and last, we’ve gotten the benefits of a very pensive Jesus. Last week, Jesus sat and watched the Treasury system. This week he takes a seat on the Mount of Olives; from there he can see the entire site of the Temple, and he shares some of his reflections on what this…

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Mark 12:38-44 Sermon Commentary

Proper 27B

Our two sections are directly connected by the mention of widows. In the first section, the widows are made destitute at the hands of the scribes, and in the second, a poor widow gives the last of her financial goods as a contribution to the faith community. Jesus clearly condemns the scribes in the first…

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Mark 12:28-34 Sermon Commentary

Proper 26B

The text’s message this week is simple. It’s the all-encompassing nature of the application that gets overwhelming. Did you know, for instance, that there are 613 commandments in the Pentateuch? Summarizing and prioritizing, as Jesus does here, was a normal practice among the rabbis and scribes of Judaism, not to mention that it’s a helpful…

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Mark 10:46-52 Sermon Commentary

Proper 25B

A couple of weeks ago, we witnessed the rich man come to terms with reality. This week, we see a bit of a contrast in the person of Bartimaeus. Both he and the rich man are earnest and sincere in their desire to encounter Jesus, but one walks away and the other follows our Lord….

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Mark 10:35-45 Sermon Commentary

Proper 24B

It turns out that Peter is not the only one of the disciples who can get in over his head in conversation with Jesus. This time it’s brothers, James and John, who think they know what they’re talking about. Though it isn’t included in our selection for today, James and John’s request comes right after…

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Mark 10:17-31 Sermon Commentary

Proper 23B

Though the text alerts us to a natural transition in verse 17, stating that Jesus set out on a journey, I see verses 13-16 as a really helpful opening to this week’s encounter and suggest you include them. (See the Textual Point below for some of the reasons.) By all accounts, the rich man’s searching…

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Mark 10:2-16 Sermon Commentary

Proper 22B

Comments, Questions and Observations Even with the inclusion of verses 13-16 in this week’s selection, there’s no getting around the topic of divorce that dominates verses 2-12. No matter whether or not divorce is considered a “state of sin” in your church, there will be people listening who have been impacted by divorce—their own, or…

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