Preaching Connection: Fear

Reading for Preaching

The Collected Sermons of William H. Willimon

Willimon writes about a church member he used to have—a man who owned a hardware store. He was hard on preachers who, in 1968, presented their weekly diatribe against Nixon and the Vietnam War. On one occasion of such doings, he “had stood up from where he was sitting, shook his head, and walked right...
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What Jamie Saw

A story about a good woman whose boyfriend Van one day tosses her daughter, actually hurls her daughter, whom, fortunately the mother catches. That’s the day the mother, her son Jamie (who saw the throw and the catch), and Jamie’s half-sister Nin move out of Van’s house. So the (by now half-famous) first sentence of...
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Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

She cites a lovely passage from Augustine: “Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security . . . We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God’s praises are sung both there...
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Additional content related to Fear

Mark 9:38-50

It seems that the deflecting from discomfort that we saw last week is continuing this week. Though it may not seem like it at a first read through, Mark has placed this set of sayings here for a reason. Instead of the usual suspect, Peter, it’s John who speaks up this time. It could be…

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Mark 9:30-37

Verses 30-37 in Mark 9 provide us a very clear picture of a human response to fear and confusion: changing the subject instead of taking the risk to look foolish. Who likes to look dumb? Worse yet, it was just last week when we heard Peter speak up and “question” Jesus, and where did that…

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Mark 4:35-41

For fishermen ostensibly accustomed to being out on the water—presumably in all kinds of weather—the  disciples sure panicked over the weather often enough in the gospels.  The only calm one in all those storms-at-sea situations was the land-lubber carpenter from Nazareth.  So also here in Mark 4: with just a word, Jesus, who had not…

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2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

It would be very difficult to pick a more fitting text for this last Sunday of Advent.  After focusing with ever growing intensity on the coming of God’s salvation, we are just 5 days away from our celebration of the birth of the long-promised Messiah. This text is “the mother of all Messianic prophecies,” “the…

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Isaiah 7:10-16

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, just 3 days away from Christmas, our reading from Isaiah 7 doesn’t seem very Christmasy.  Oh, it does if we focus only on verse 14 and the way our Gospel reading for today interprets it (Matthew 1:18-25). But if we read our text in its context, there’s no hint…

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Matthew 11:2-11

“The War on Christmas.”  We have heard about this a lot in recent years.  Some while back people assailed Starbucks for removing the word “Christmas” from their holiday coffee cups.  Some were upset some years ago that the White House wished a blanket “Happy Holidays” instead of specifically mentioning Christmas.  And some while back the…

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Psalm 27

C.S. Lewis said somewhere that when you add it all up and consider it all together, in the end we would all find that our prayer life is also our autobiography.  Who we are, where we’ve been, the situations we’ve faced, the fears that nag us, and not a few of the core characteristics of…

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