Preaching Connection: Incarnation

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Movies for Preaching

Superman (1978) – 2

Superman (1978).  Directed by Richard Donner.  Written by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, and Tom Mankiewicz. Music by John Williams.  Starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, and Marlon Brando.  PG, 143 min. Just when and where we least expect a significant something or Other is…

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Superman (1978) – 1

Superman (1978).  Directed by Richard Donner.  Written by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, and Tom Mankiewicz. Music by John Williams.  Starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, and Marlon Brando.  PG, 143 min. It’s there in plain sight from the start, at least for those with…

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E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982) – 2

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).  Directed by Steven Spielberg, Written by Melissa Mathison.  Music by John Williams.  Staring Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote.  115 mins.  Rated PG. Ordinary light, the thing by which those who can see view the world all about.  Mostly, all that light (and vision) is just there, pretty much taken…

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Additional content related to Incarnation

John 1:(1-9) 10-18

There is overwhelming emphasis in this passage on how things “from above” are received here on earth. In the advent season, we remembered that we are actively waiting to receive the gift of the Word in full, and that God is actively at work to bring about his Kingdom on earth. In John’s prologue, it’s…

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Luke 2:41-52

We are still in the Christmas season on this Sunday, and for many of us, this is a low-key Sunday, a “coming down” from all of the hype that has been the season. There’s a bit of that feeling in the story as well. Year after year (a more literal translation of the opening of…

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Hebrews 10:5-10

On this last Sunday before Christmas, the RCL (finally) turns its Epistolary Lessons’ eyes from that to which few North American eyes naturally turn toward that to which most Christians’ eyes have been turned for almost a month already. Hebrews 10, after all, turns our eyes away from Christ’s second coming and toward his first….

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Hebrews 9:24-28

Hebrews’ proclaimers as well as our hearers may by now feel a little burned out by Hebrews. That’s the way my colleague Len Vander Zee begins his thoughtful and insightful 2018 commentary on this week’s Epistolary Lesson. Hebrews’ preachers and teachers may feel a bit like investigators at a crime scene that’s so covered with…

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Zephaniah 3:14-20

As I read Zephaniah, the memory of a bumper sticker came back to me.  It said, “Jesus is coming soon, and is he ever ticked!”  (It actually used a more vulgar term that gave the sticker more punch, but you get the point.)  That is exactly the mood of most of Zephaniah.  Indeed, if our…

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Philippians 4:4-7

The Bible is full of commands to “Rejoice.”  Yet they’re not always calls to God’s people to just “be happy.”  After all, the Scriptures’ calls to rejoice sometimes seem to come in the context of the least happy times and places. For example, the Paul who writes the Epistolary Lesson the Lectionary assigns for this…

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Luke 1:68-79

Someone once said that visits always bring pleasure because even if the arrival of a certain visitor didn’t make you happy, his departure will!  The comedic pianist Victor Borge also touched on this topic when he once noted that the mythic figure of Santa Claus has the right idea: you should visit people just once…

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Luke 3:1-6

I love Luke.  The man has style.  And he displays that style in narrative after narrative in his Gospel and in his sequel, The Book of Acts.  Tradition has it Luke was a doctor.  He clearly came mighty close to missing his calling.  Thankfully, the Spirit used Luke’s considerable literary powers after all to give…

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Malachi 3:1-4

A number of years ago I preached a series of sermons on the Minor Prophets entitled “The Gospel in a Minor Key.”  Obviously, that was a play on words, but it also reflected the fact that these unusual little prophetic books proclaim the Good News in unexpected, dissonant, almost off-key ways.  Our text for this…

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John 1:(1-9), 10-18

The Lectionary may get the last laugh here, and savvy preachers can curl up the corners of their mouths to join the mirth. Because here it is the first Sunday of a new year with Christmas now officially past us by about a week-and-a-half. For weeks now, starting well before American Thanksgiving even, it’s been…

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Micah 5:2-5a

When the Lectionary dishes up just 3.5 verses, skipping the first verse of a chapter and stopping just halfway through the fifth verse, you just know it’s like putting blinders on us readers to keep us from seeing something on either side of the lection. I don’t know why they made this choice but lyric…

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Hebrews 10:5-10

Sometimes you just have to wonder where the inventors of the Revised Common Lectionary got their ideas for the choices they made. I mean, here we are, 5 days away from Christmas, surely one of the most pregnant times in the church calendar. The other readings for this Fourth Sunday of Advent are clearly about…

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Zephaniah 3:14-20

Comments, Observations, and Questions I used to watch a TV show that was quite compelling and enjoyable but it did have one feature to it that I did not much like: on some episodes the show’s characters would find themselves sunk very deep down into dreadfully complex circumstances.  The episode would devote something like 92%…

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Philippians 4:4-7

Comments, Observations, and Questions Growing up in a family of modest means, I learned early the value of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.  We couldn’t afford the real thing, those lovely complete books, so we read those abbreviated and edited versions of bestsellers and classics.  They were very helpful, though not nearly as graceful as the…

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Malachi 3:1-4

A friend of mine who is an English professor once told me that he suggested to a friend that he might enjoy reading the great works of the author John Donne.  So this man did so.  Some while later the two met up again and the English professor asked him “What did you think of…

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Luke 1:68-79

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider Has the Lectionary lost its way already on the second Sunday of the church year?  The “psalm” the Lectionary appoints for this Sunday is, after all, not actually a psalm, but the song that Zechariah sings at his son’s birth.  He was, of course, an elderly priest who was…

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