Commentaries Written by Doug Bratt

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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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James 5:13-20 Sermon Commentary

Proper 21B

Were “community” in the deepest sense of the word a commodity that’s traded on some kind of stock exchange, it would be soaring in value. That’s partly because of the law of supply and demand. Genuine community the word is in such short supply that the demand sometimes exceeds the supply. So many things isolated…

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James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a Sermon Commentary

Proper 20B

My friend whom I’ll call Wayne is struggling to submit to God (4:7) right now. In fact, that struggle has produced a fairly deep crisis of faith in him. Yet to Wayne’s credit, he’s honest enough to share that struggle with me as well as seek my help in becoming more submissive to God. Wayne…

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James 3:1-12 Sermon Commentary

Proper 19B

“Not many of you should presume to be didaskaloi (teachers),” James begins this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson (1). About now, many teachers might agree with him. A few weeks (or days) into the new school year have probably begun to tax even the most dedicated teachers in ways that may leave them considering some kind of…

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James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17 Sermon Commentary

Proper 18B

When I hear James tell his brothers and sisters in Christ in this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson not to “show favoritism” (1), I’m tempted to respond, “That’s easier said than done.” Favoritism isn’t, after all, both common and dangerous. It’s also terribly difficult to eradicate. Favoritism is an at least perceived fact of daily life. Almost…

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James 1:17-27 Sermon Commentary

Proper 17B

I suspect that many of this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s proclaimers consider ourselves reasonably self-sufficient. At least some of us were raised in solid homes and received better-than-average formal educations. Many of us have good jobs that support comfortable lifestyles. Since we have worked hard to get where we are, we naturally see our current station…

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