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Isaiah 5:1-7

Proper 15C

As commentators note, Isaiah 5 begins with what looks like some light-hearted romantic ballad. A kind of troubadour opens this chapter by saying, “Listen up! I’m going to sing you a ballad about my beloved one–a song about the vineyard of our love!” It looks like a love song but quickly changes into a lament….

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Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

Proper 14C

To get the full impact of Isaiah 1:10-20, you need to back up to verse 9 (left out regrettably by the Lectionary) in which the people of Israel say to themselves (in the wake of great desolation in their land) that with at least a few folks still living, they were not quite as bad…

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Isaiah 50:4-9a

Palm Sunday

Years ago when my son was in the 8th Grade, his Christian school teacher was preparing the students to watch the whipping scene from the Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ, which at the time had come out quite recently.  Long before they got to viewing the actual video clip—in fact, they never…

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Isaiah 43:16-21

Lent 5C

One thing I always tell my preaching students is never utilize a sermon introduction that exists merely for the sake of grabbing people’s attention but that has precious little—if anything—to do with what follows or with the main thrust of the sermon.  So you would never kick off  a sermon by saying “Altogether too often…

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Isaiah 55:1-9

Lent 3C

The Year C Revised Common Lectionary would have us stop reading and thinking about Isaiah 55 at the 9th verse.  But to me that’s rather like singing just the first two stanzas of “By the Sea of Crystal” but being told you can’t sing stanza 3.  But since stanza 2 ends with “Hark the heavenly…

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Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)

Epiphany 5C

It was the year King Uzziah died. Or, it was the year President Kennedy died. Or it was the year 9/11 rattled the world to its core. Or it was the year the COVID pandemic began. It was the year when things fell apart, when foundations were shaken, when the markets crumbled, when all that…

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Isaiah 62:1-5

Epiphany 2C

These first verses of Isaiah 62 are like a geyser erupting in hopefulness and wild abundance.  This is like a prophetic fireworks display with a never-ending grand finale as color and light fills the skies, eliciting a long string of “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” from those seeing the spectacle.  This is one of those passages so…

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Isaiah 43:1-7

Epiphany 1C

Scholars tell us that there may have been at least two, probably three (perhaps four) “Isaiahs” whose prophetic words make up the one Old Testament book we call Isaiah.  If so, then the version of Isaiah we get in this 43rd chapter is definitely the “Happy Isaiah” as compared to the doom-and-gloom Isaiah from earlier…

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Isaiah 12:2-6

Advent 3C

More than we realize, the Bible is a trove of images, similes, metaphors, and visual depictions.  Throughout Scripture God describes himself through a battery of metaphors that inevitably lead you to form a picture in your mind’s eye.  Many of the images are, on the face of them, contradictory, until you realize that even to…

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Isaiah 6:1-8

Trinity Sunday B

Using this prophetic text for Trinity Sunday will take a bit of exegetical ingenuity.  You will have to use strong New Testament glasses to find the Trinity here.  But, on the other hand, this is a perfect text for the transition from the celebration of the Great Feasts of the church year to Ordinary Time,…

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