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Romans 8:6-11

Lent 5A

Remote controlled vehicles, whether cars, boats or even airplanes, make wonderful toys. So wonderful, in fact, that children sometimes argue and even fight over who will control them. There’s something about completely controlling something’s movements that can prove to be almost irresistible. But you’ve ever watched two children grapple over the same “joystick” you’ve probably…

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Romans 5:1-11

Lent 3A

Hope seems to be in far shorter supply than despair in the 21st century. In fact, were someone to post a list of endangered “virtue species,” hope might join Christian unity near or at the top of the list. In fact, divisions among Christians sometimes drains some of some of God’s dearly beloved people’s hope….

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Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Lent 2A

Few things seem more deeply lodged within the human heart than the longing to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Few people articulated that longing more poignantly than the Irish poet John O’Donohue. In his book Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong (Harper Perennial, 2000) he wrote, “The hunger to belong is…

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Romans 5:12-19

Lent 1A

Most of Jesus’ friends have a mental list of God’s attributes. We generally think of God as being loving and just, gracious and holy, patient and forgiving. But I’m not sure many Christians naturally include in their list of God’s attributes the quality of generosity. This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson provides a good antidote to that…

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Romans 1:1-7

Advent 4A

Comments, Observations, and Questions Paul basically frames this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson with references to calling (1, 7a). What lies between those references forms the basis for those calls, both for the apostle and all of God’s dearly beloved people to whom the Spirit speaks through him. However, preachers who wish to talk about calling need…

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Romans 15:4-13

Advent 2A

Few things are arguably in shorter supply in both our culture and the Church of Jesus Christ than unity. It’s not just that the Church has long been divided into Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant camps. It’s also that 21st century churches and denominations seem to be dividing nearly as often as some of us…

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Romans 13:11-14

Advent 1A

Doesn’t it almost seem as if the Revised Common Lectionary’s editors must have been citizens of the northern hemisphere? Of course, this Sunday’s first in the season of Advent makes their choice of Romans 13’s reflections on Christ’s return appropriate. But Paul sure spends a lot of its time talking about darkness in it. Citizens…

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Romans 5:1-5

Trinity Sunday C

A quick glance at the church year’s calendar may make gospel proclaimers’ pulses race. Trinity Sunday has, after all, come again. It may make proclaimers’ palms sweat not just because, as the New Testament scholar Beverly Gaventa to whose commentary I owe a great deal for this commentary, notes, “reference to the Trinity is itself…

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Romans 8:14-17

Pentecost C

My last surviving parent’s death last year reminded me that inheritance can be complicated. My mom and dad, while never materially wealthy by North American standards, did what they could to ensure that their children as well as worthy causes would inherit something from them. But, of course, so many others also wanted a “piece”…

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Romans 10:8b-13

Lent 1C

Comments, Observations, and Questions Some Christians at least imply that grace is what we might call a “Yesbut” phenomenon. “Yes,” they say, “We’re saved by grace alone through faith. But people also need to oppose gay marriage or voting restrictions in order to be truly saved.” Or “Yes, people who confess that Jesus is Lord…

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