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Philippians 2:5-11

Palm Sunday

Comments, Observations, and Questions This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson points its proclaimers to the horrible degradation and subsequent exaltation of Christ Jesus. So God the Son is always the primary subject of any proclamation of Philippians 2:5-11. Its proclaimers can find a wealth of good help proclaiming Christ Jesus in this site’s various commentaries. But those…

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Philippians 3:4b-13

Lent 5C

Good gospel preaching, like faithful Christian living, always leans forward rather than backwards. While some Christians long for “the good old days,” this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson expresses the Apostle Paul’s longing for the good coming days. Of course, Philippians 3 says quite a bit about that on what Paul can look back. But the apostle…

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Philippians 3:17-4:1

Lent 2C

In this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson Paul calls his Philippian audience to “join with others in following” his “example” (17). To 21st century ears, however, such an invitation sounds like nails scraping an old-fashioned chalkboard. Its apparent arrogance doesn’t just, after all, hurt our ears. Such a bold call to imitation also no longer fits into…

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Philippians 4:4-7

Advent 3C

The season of Advent is, for many of Jesus’ friends, as well as the culture in which many citizens of the global west live, a perhaps especially busy one. Many of us are busily preparing for various holiday celebrations, even as a global pandemic and political strife continue to rage among and around us. So…

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Philippians 1:3-11

Advent 2C

Jesus’ friends would do well to take at least some of our Advent cues from children. This is, after all, a season of waiting. However, children especially sometimes struggle to wait patiently during Advent. In fact, some of them have an almost laser-focus on that which they await. Adults may share some of children’s impatience…

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Philippians 2:5-11

Lent 6B

The retired American professional basketball star Charles Barkley once famously said in a television commercial, “I’m not a role model … Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” His statement displayed the kind of wisdom that other public figures sometimes lack. The Epistolary Lesson the RCL appoints for this…

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Philippians 4:1-9

Proper 23A

Few of us will be sad to watch the year of our Lord 2020 draw to a close at the end of December. It has been, after all, to say the least, a most stressful year. COVID-19 has wreaked almost unimaginable havoc on countless lives, jobs and institutions. North Americans are struggling with racial injustice…

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Philippians 3:4b-14

Proper 22A

“Are you becoming perfect?” is the perhaps strange way Carole Noren, to whom I owe many ideas for this Commentary, begins a sermon on Philippians 3.  It is, however, also an appropriate question, in light of the amount of attention the New Testament pays to the issue of perfection. While Christians may sense that the…

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Philippians 2:1-13

Proper 21A

We sometimes think of tensions within the Church, between churches or among Christians as new phenomena. Christians sometimes assume that, for example, the veritable plethora of denominations and congregations is a somehow recent development. This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson, however, suggests that tension within and among churches is ancient. After all, tensions in the Philippian church…

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Philippians 1:21-30

Proper 20A

One of the most lyrical expressions of Christian hope is embedded in the first Question and Answer of the Heidelberg Catechism. There Reformed Christians answer the question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” with the lovely, “That I am not my own, but belong in body and soul, in life and…

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