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Psalm 97

Easter 7C

A few years ago the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship produced a new hymnal based on the Psalms.  Its title is “Psalms for All Seasons.”  The title is apt because as most of us know, the Hebrew Psalter is a collection of varied prayers that matches life’s many and varied seasons.  As C.S. Lewis and…

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Psalm 67

Easter 6C

It can be a little hard to know how to read Psalm 67.  On the face of it, this is a pretty simple Hebrew poem.  It’s short.  It is upbeat for the most part.  It aims squarely at the praise of the one true God of Israel. Yet there are some interesting angles one could…

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Psalm 148

Easter 5C

Some years back at a worship service we used St. Francis of Assisi’s poem “Canticle of the Sun” as part of a responsive reading.  There was, alas, a slight typo in the bulletin that made it sound at one point as though we were worshiping Mother Earth.  This led a rather conservative member of my…

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Psalm 23

Easter 4C

Presidential funerals always draw a huge television audience.  We have seen it for Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and most recently for George H.W. Bush.  But when you watch such services, you need not have the funeral program in your hands to guess that probably at some point some pastor is going to…

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Psalm 30

Easter 3C

A friend of mine who passed away last year on Easter used to respond to life’s oft-difficult circumstances by saying, “Ah well, joy cometh in the morning.”  Or at least joy may come in the morning but most of us know altogether too well that sometimes it doesn’t.  Or the “morning” in question ends up…

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Psalm 150

Easter 2C

Whether it’s a Broadway play like Les Miserables or a classic movie like The Sound of Music, most people enjoy a good musical. But have you ever wondered what it is about such productions that appeals to us? After all, musicals are decidedly unlike real life. In The Sound of Music people burst into song…

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Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Easter Sunday

Comments, Observations, and Questions Call it the little Psalm that could.  Call it the Psalm of stealth and surprise.  Call it the Psalm that fits the Gospel bill. Why?  Because out of all the 150 psalms in the Hebrew Psalter, many people have their favorites but those favorites—most anybody’s “Top 10 Greatest Hits of the…

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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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Psalm 31:9-16

Palm Sunday

Comments, Observations, and Questions It is Palm/Passion Sunday and so God’s people come to church.  We Christians come to church because we believe when we do, we come into the presence of God.  We believe in God and so we believe God is faithful to the promise that when we gather in God’s name, God…

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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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