Commentaries Written by Doug Bratt

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Philippians 1:3-11 Sermon Commentary

Advent 2C

Jesus’ friends would do well to take at least some of our Advent cues from children. This is, after all, a season of waiting. However, children especially sometimes struggle to wait patiently during Advent. In fact, some of them have an almost laser-focus on that which they await. Adults may share some of children’s impatience…

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1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 Sermon Commentary

Advent 1C

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson speaks about waiting during an Advent season that’s largely devoted to waiting. However, it addresses the kind of waiting that runs largely counter to our culture (and at least some of the Church’s) waiting. 1 Thessalonians 3 doesn’t describe, after all, how to wait for our celebration of Christ’s first coming….

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Revelation 1:4b-8 Sermon Commentary

Proper 29B

There may be little new to say about a passage to which the Lectionary returns twice every three years and about which my colleagues have already so ably commented. Their fine commentaries in the CEP’s library of commentaries provide more familiar approaches to a proclamation of Revelation 1:4b-8. But proclaimers who are looking for another…

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Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25 Sermon Commentary

Proper 28B

The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to mitigate it have changed the way at least some Christians have met or are currently “meeting together” (25). Restrictions have forced at least some of us to meet together remotely rather than in the same building.  Restrictions have also forced some Christians to worship somewhat differently even when they…

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Hebrews 9:24-28 Sermon Commentary

Proper 27B

Hebrews’ proclaimers as well as our hearers may by now feel a little burned out by Hebrews. That’s the way my colleague Len Vander Zee begins his thoughtful and insightful 2018 commentary on this week’s Epistolary Lesson. Hebrews’ preachers and teachers may feel a bit like investigators at a crime scene that’s so covered with…

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Hebrews 9:11-14 Sermon Commentary

Proper 26B

As I noted in a 2018 commentary on this week’s Epistolary Lesson, this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson is “bloody.” In fact, it’s so bloody that citizens of the already figuratively blood-soaked 21st century may be uncomfortable with it. But perhaps humanity needed such a radical solution because its problem was so deeply-ingrained. Few pieces of baggage…

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Hebrews 7:23-28 Sermon Commentary

Proper 25B

Few promises mean more to hurting people than, “I’m praying (or I’ll pray) for you.” We long to have someone “put in a good word for us” before God. In fact, I’ve even people whose faith is fragile or apparently non-existent seem to often appreciate the thought behind a promise of prayer, if not necessarily…

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Hebrews 5:1-10 Sermon Commentary

Proper 24B

The master preacher scholar Fred Craddock once called the books of Hebrews and Revelation, “the literature most intimidating to readers of the New Testament.” After all, Hebrews’ Preacher packs his letter with tightly woven arguments that assume familiarity with Israel’s wilderness life. As Craddock also notes, however, even Hebrews’ writer seems to sense that his…

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Hebrews 4:12-16 Sermon Commentary

Proper 23B

Even adults are, in some ways, masters of hiding. We generally no longer hide in closets or behind furniture as we did when we played “Hide and Seek” as children. Yet we still manage to keep a lot of things hidden from each other – and, sometimes, even ourselves. So those who proclaim Hebrews 4…

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Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12 Sermon Commentary

Proper 22B

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider At least partly because I struggled to relate it to life in the 20th and 21st centuries, I didn’t preach a series of sermons on the book of Hebrews for the first 20 years of my ministry. Since the book had always seemed to me to be so impractical,…

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