Commentaries Written by Doug Bratt

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1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 3A

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson brings to mind the novelist William Faulkner’s lament about the post-Civil War American South: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It also in some ways resonates with the historian and philosopher George Santayana’s “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” If Christians didn’t know…

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1 Corinthians 1:1-9 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 2A

Gospel proclaimers who think of preaching as largely the sharing of helpful hints for being a better Christian may find that this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson offers rather thin subject material. It is, after all, far longer on theology than on ethics. Many English translations of 1 Corinthians 1:1-9’s Greek have six sentences. People, however, are…

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Acts 10:34-43 Sermon Commentary

Epiphany 1A

Nearly all people, including Christians, have not just favorite people, but also favorite kinds of people. That helps shrink the leap for at least some Christians to the assumption that God too doesn’t just have favorite people, but also favorite kinds of people. This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson challenges that assumption. As a result, it may…

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Hebrews 2:10-18 Sermon Commentary

Christmas 1A

If Jesus had been born not in some kind of livestock shelter but a hospital, how would anyone have been able to pick him out of the other babies in the nursery? Would he have been the baby who, as we sing at Christmas, made no crying? If Jesus’ friends had been choosing sides for…

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Titus 3:4-7 Sermon Commentary

Christmas Day A

I suspect that few preachers will employ this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson as a Christmas Day “stand-alone text.” That doesn’t, however, mean that Titus 3:4-7 has no place in a Christmas message. It, in fact, offers a way for Jesus’ friends to think about just why Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem is so important. While many worshipers…

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Romans 1:1-7 Sermon Commentary

Advent 4A

Comments, Observations, and Questions Paul basically frames this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson with references to calling (1, 7a). What lies between those references forms the basis for those calls, both for the apostle and all of God’s dearly beloved people to whom the Spirit speaks through him. However, preachers who wish to talk about calling need…

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James 5:7-10 Sermon Commentary

Advent 3A

The central place the New Testament gives to the prospect of Christ’s return may surprise Christians for whom the prospect of that return is largely peripheral to their daily lives. The book of Revelation, for example, devotes much attention to it. Paul also speaks at length of Christ’s second coming especially in his letters to…

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Romans 15:4-13 Sermon Commentary

Advent 2A

Few things are arguably in shorter supply in both our culture and the Church of Jesus Christ than unity. It’s not just that the Church has long been divided into Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant camps. It’s also that 21st century churches and denominations seem to be dividing nearly as often as some of us…

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Romans 13:11-14 Sermon Commentary

Advent 1A

Doesn’t it almost seem as if the Revised Common Lectionary’s editors must have been citizens of the northern hemisphere? Of course, this Sunday’s first in the season of Advent makes their choice of Romans 13’s reflections on Christ’s return appropriate. But Paul sure spends a lot of its time talking about darkness in it. Citizens…

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Colossians 1:11-20 Sermon Commentary

Proper 29C

When the people in Colosse originally heard Paul’s letter to them, they knew about the kinds of dominions about which he talks in verse 13. After all, when things went wrong in their day, their contemporaries didn’t generally blame each other. They, instead, blamed powers that their culture understood to be “in charge.” They pointed…

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