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Lamentations 1:1-6

Proper 22C

Cheery this lection is not.  The New Testament sermon starter based on Luke 17 for this week is a bit of a challenging passage and so some preachers might be tempted to swap out this week’s Old Testament reading for the Gospel one but if so, then turning to this downbeat passage might make one…

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Psalm 37:1-9

Proper 22C

The Book of Psalms—and sometimes individual poems within it—can be pretty good at the proverbial “talking out of both sides of one’s mouth at the same time.”  Taken individually, some psalms paint a very pretty picture of how the righteous always prosper and how the wicked always fail miserably.  Then again, other psalms admit that…

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Psalm 146

Proper 21C

In contemporary music there are few crescendos quite as dramatic and raucous as the one that concludes the Beatles song “A Day in the Life.”  A somewhat wild cacophony of strings, brass, and percussion all come together to end this remarkable song with a bang followed by a very long sustain on a piano that…

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Jeremiah 32:1-3, 6-15

Proper 21C

A real estate deal seldom had it so good.  All through the Bible you can find a recurrent theme related to real estate, to land, to who owns what.  It all began with a promise of land to Abram (who for some reason had to leave behind the land he already owned to set out…

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Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

Proper 20C

“This hurts me more than it hurts you” our parents assured us as they doled out some form of punishment or another.  Timeouts, groundings, restrictions: our parents wanted to claim the greater pain was theirs in the issuing of the punishments than ours in the receiving of them.  We, none of us, believe this when…

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Psalm 113

Proper 20C

In Robert Duvall’s film, The Apostle, we see a vignette of what could be described as a very “in your face” style of praise.  The revival worship services of a certain stripe of Deep South fundamentalism are high-decibel, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, gizzard-piercing spectacles that are most decidedly not for the faint of heart! And yet, in…

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Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28

Proper 19C

Silent Spring. Or better written, Silent Spring in italics as befits a book title because that was indeed the title of Rachel Carson’s well-known book that was among the first cries of the modern ecological movement. Years ago, before I knew what that book was about, upon hearing the title I pictured some serene setting:…

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Psalm 51:1-10

Proper 19C

Every once in a while in a movie or on a TV show—and often used for comedic effect—there will be a character whose self-esteem is so low and so fragile that those who know this person are loathe ever to criticize him.  If you point out even one little mistake to Larry, Larry will immediately…

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Psalm 1

Proper 18C

It’s not by accident.  It wasn’t editorial happenstance.  No one flipped a coin to decide which Hebrew poem to turn into Psalm 1 in this collection.  Rather, the Hebrew Psalter is a carefully edited, thoughtfully and intentionally put together collection of poems.  The design of the larger book is evident in many ways (for instance,…

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Jeremiah 18:1-11

Proper 18C

The image of a potter at a wheel molding a wet lump of clay into various shapes is both a vivid image and one that most people can picture easily in their minds—it even cuts across multiple cultures seeing as the art of pottery making is quite ancient.   Skilled potters are downright amazing in their…

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