Commentaries Written by Doug Bratt

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2 Corinthians 5: 6-10, (11-13), 14-17 Sermon Commentary

Proper 6B

The end of Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson has taken on perhaps extra poignancy over the past fifteen months or so. That’s partly because, at least in the United States, the global pandemic, political partisanship and struggles for racial justice have added new chapters to the story of what its verse 16 calls “a worldly point of…

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2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 Sermon Commentary

Proper 5B

The COVID-19 global pandemic has taken away more things than we can count. It has robbed countless people of their lives and livelihoods, as well as mental and physical health. But one loss that’s easy to overlook is our loss of funerals and memorial services that are attended by more than about 10-15 people. That…

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Romans 8:22-27 Sermon Commentary

Pentecost B

There’s a whole lot of groaning going on not just in this Sunday’s RCL Epistolary Lesson, but also in God’s world. Sometimes, in fact, that groaning’s so loud that you don’t even have to listen very carefully to hear it. The Greek word that English Bible’s generally translate as “groan” is systenezai. It carries with…

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1 John 5:9-13 Sermon Commentary

Easter 7B

1 John’s “love letter” approaches its “landing strip” with this Sunday’s RCL Epistolary Lesson. Yet it may initially seem as if this “flight” is veering off course. After all, in a letter that John packs with calls to love God and our neighbor, this text emphasizes testimony. Of course, 1 John 5:9-13 is related to…

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1 John 5:1-6 Sermon Commentary

Easter 6B

My colleague Judith Jones suggests that the community to which John writes his first letter was facing a crisis. Some former members of the community were denying Jesus was actually the Messiah, God’s flesh and blood, fully human, fully divine Son. So John’s letters’ readers seemed to struggle with whom they should believe, how they…

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1 John 4:7-21 Sermon Commentary

Easter 5B

Contrary to the Beatles’ sung claims, all we “need” isn’t “love.” But the full-orbed, whole person love to which this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson summons Jesus’ followers will go a very long way to meeting all sorts of “needs.” Jesus’ friends might call John’s first letter his “love letter.” That emphasis is, in fact, a theme…

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I John 1:1-2:2 Sermon Commentary

Easter 2B

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s proclaimers might lead into their presentation of it with a story of how they needed an intercessor. A number of years ago I traveled to sit with members of our church during their family member’s major surgery. Using an inaccurate map, I became lost in a maze of one-way streets. After…

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1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Sermon Commentary

Easter Day B

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul tries to clear up some theological misunderstandings about the resurrection. Yet he insists that the Corinthians’ confusion about it isn’t just one among many problems that he’s already addressed. Lack of clarity about the resurrection isn’t like confusion about, for example, sexuality, food offered to idols and lawsuits that plague…

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Philippians 2:5-11 Sermon Commentary

Lent 6B

The retired American professional basketball star Charles Barkley once famously said in a television commercial, “I’m not a role model … Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” His statement displayed the kind of wisdom that other public figures sometimes lack. The Epistolary Lesson the RCL appoints for this…

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Hebrews 5:5-10 Sermon Commentary

Lent 5B

This week’s Epistolary Lesson assumes that for a relationship to exist between God and God’s people, as well as among groups and between individuals, things must be repaired and restored. However, Hebrews 5 insists that the only way that can happen is if God does it. We’re sometimes angered to hear our various leaders reveal…

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