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Hebrews 10:5-10

Advent 4C

What on earth is this whole Christmas business about?  Why is it worth all the effort so many people put into celebrating it?  To answer that, not just the Church but also the world needs to know just why Jesus came to be not only born in Bethlehem, but also to grow up to live,…

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

Proper 28B

Hebrews 10 may please both those who proclaim and those hear the Lectionary texts from Hebrews who feel like saying, “Enough of all that talk about Jesus and blood already.  Just tell us what to do.”  After all, after almost endlessly teaching us about Jesus and his work, this week’s text finally teaches us what…

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Hebrews 9:24-28 [10:11-18]

Proper 27B

Digging Into the Text: I imagine that by this time, you preachers out there might be getting a little burned out with Hebrews and its priests and sacrifices and temples, and worried the congregation may feel the same way. Some commentators think that Hebrews is not so much an epistle in the usual sense, but…

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Hebrews 9:11-14

Proper 26B

This week’s Epistolary Lesson is a bloody one.  In fact, it’s so bloody that citizens of the already figuratively blood-soaked 21st century may be uncomfortable with it.  Even its preachers and teachers may wonder how to apply Hebrews 9’s truths to a world that’s already in some ways soaked in the blood of war, ethnic…

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Hebrews 7:23-28

Proper 25B

This may not seem like a particularly appropriate Sunday on which to preach about priests.  After all, Protestant Christians are preparing to celebrate the birth of the Reformation that the corruption of the Roman Catholic priesthood in part fueled. What’s more, the Reformation emphasized the priesthood of all believers.  Since Protestant Christians recognize that all…

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Hebrews 5:1-10

Proper 24B

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 between us.  However, Hebrews 5 insists that the only way that can happen is if God does it. During this American political campaign season, both…

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Hebrews 4:12-16

Proper 23B

At least some Christians generally think of corporate worship as relatively sedate.  I suspect that the worship services of most of us who write and read these sermon commentaries leave worshipers feeling pretty safe. However, the author Annie Dillard, in her book Teaching a Stone to Talk, writes about the dangers of meeting God in…

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Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12

Proper 22B

Until relatively recently I’d never preached a series of sermons on the book of Hebrews.  That’s partly because I’ve struggled to relate it to life in the 20th and 21st centuries. Hebrews has always seemed to me to be so impractical and theological.  So I’ve shied away from much of its talk about things like…

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Hebrews 5:1-10

Lent 5B

It should count as a bit of an irony that just beyond the end of the assigned lection in Hebrews 5 we find the writer giving his readers a bit of a rebuke.  “You probably don’t understand what I just wrote,” verse 11 essentially begins, “and that’s too bad because by now you should be…

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Hebrews 2:10-18

1st Sunday after Christmas A

God’s power cannot cut it.   That’s both the bottom line and the upshot of this part of Hebrews 2.  Isn’t that weird, though?  Isn’t that counter-intuitive?   How often haven’t most of us said or thought something along the lines of “If only I were in charge . . . If only I were in control…

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