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2 Timothy 1:1-14

Proper 22C

Paul’s call to his dear son Timothy to “guard” (14) the gospel is evocative. It’s, what’s more, the title of John Stott’s commentary, to which I owe a lot for this message’s ideas, on the apostle’s second letter to Timothy. So Paul’s call to “guard the gospel” might also serve as a kind of on-ramp…

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Luke 17:5-10

Proper 22C

We plop right into a conversation already in progress in verse 5, but as you may already be aware, reading the previous verses isn’t a guarantee that you’ll immediately understand our lectionary selection! If you wish to include the first four verses of chapter 17, it’s fine to do so, since they are seemingly what…

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Luke 16:19-31

Proper 21C

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” – Jesus (Luke 6.24) So goes the story of the rich man in Jesus’ story. He should have known better; he could have been (and done) better. He received good things, but built up treasures for himself instead of being rich towards…

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1 Timothy 6:6-19

Proper 21C

Few virtues are, arguably, rarer in the twenty-first century than “contentment.” Relatively few people seem deeply satisfied with their situation in life. A variety of things fuels this dissatisfaction. Many citizens of what we sometimes call the “first world” live in a conspicuously consumptive society and time. What’s more, the media that has such a…

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Luke 16:1-13

Proper 20C

This set of verses is a difficult one to bring clarity to while preaching. Forget the fact that there are any number of interpretative directions you can take when sharing this parable: for every way this story can be understood, a fair amount of detail will need to be explained in order for the interpretation…

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1 Timothy 2:1-7

Proper 20C

Paul packs this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson with “all’s.” In fact, he uses a form of the Greek word panta no less than five times in its seven verses. But while the apostle loads this text with “all,” nearly every use of the word carries with it both some mystery and the seed of controversy. So…

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Luke 15:1-10

Proper 19C

Taking his cue from the setting given to us in verses 1-3, Justo González says these parables are less for the lost than they are for the “never lost”—those who foolishly think they have no need for the Physician of heaven. Our lectionary passage starts with the grumbling Pharisees. What are they grumbling about? Jesus…

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1 Timothy 1:12-17

Proper 19C

21st century culture is not, by and large, a patient one. It easily becomes impatient with the slowness of its electronic devices. Its citizens avoid friends who take too long to warm up, and politicians who take too long to enact legislation. It’s not just the 21st century’s oatmeal that we want to be “instant.”…

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Philemon 1:1-21

Proper 18C

A colleague recently told me that he sometimes feels like members of his church think of him as a UPS package that’s all wrapped up and labelled. Ironically, however, those members don’t agree on what his label says. My colleague says they variously think of him as too liberal or conservative, lenient or intolerant, modern…

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Luke 14:25-33

Proper 18C

If this scene seems familiar, it is because it is the second time this summer that we have encountered this scene: Jesus among a crowd on the road to Jerusalem, questioning people’s abilities and willingness to be truly committed to discipleship. In fact, throughout our lectionary passages, we have listened in as Jesus specifically tells…

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