Preaching Connection: Law

Reading for Preaching

Anatomy of a Murder

A veteran attorney speaks: “The law is the busy fireman that puts out society’s brush fires; that gives people a nonphysical method to discharge hostile feelings and settle violent differences; that substitutes orderly ritual for the rule of tooth and claw.  The very slowness of the law, its massive impersonality, its insistence on proceeding according...
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Additional content related to Law

Psalm 111

In a recent sermon commentary on another psalm, I observed that although the poetry of the Psalms and the wisdom literature of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes are distinct in terms of biblical literary genre, there is a lot of crossover between the Books of Psalms and Proverbs.  Psalm 111 is another example of this with its…

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Luke 13:10-17

“Don’t go getting any ideas.” That’s the leader’s message to the multitude of people who have gathered on the Sabbath day and were just given a spark of hope. That’s the leader’s response to Jesus’ miraculous healing of a woman’s horrible suffering. Not here, not today, not for any of the rest of you. Imagine…

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Luke 10:25-37

Boundaries and rules can be good for us. Take the ten commandments: they help us put boundaries on our own actions for the sake of others as well as ourselves. In fact, all of God’s laws ought to be understood as helping to frame a picture of how we can live in order to discover…

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Galatians 3:23-29

Occasionally the Revised Common Lectionary’s choice of where to begin and end a Lesson isn’t just puzzling. It’s also downright bewildering. This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson is a case in point. After all, the chasm between verses’ 23-25 and 26-29 may seem to be a kind of grand canyon that has no bridge that crosses it….

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John 5:1-9

The Lectionary gives us a choice on texts this week. I’m choosing to work with the healing on the Sabbath that occurred at the pool of Bethesda. By the way, if you’re looking to preach on the other lectionary text option this week, my colleague Scott wrote on it the last time through the Year…

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Philippians 3:4b-13

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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Psalm 19

Almost 120 years ago an unknown patent clerk named Albert Einstein published a series of papers detailing what he called “special relativity.” At one fell swoop, Einstein shattered centuries’ worth of scientific theories about the fundamental nature of reality. The theories of Isaac Newton and his mechanical understanding of the universe’s functioning were swept away,…

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Psalm 147:12-20

As we lurch into 2022 after another difficult year globally, we realize with a sense of startlement that we are technically now entering Year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic.  A couple years ago not a few of us hoped the worst of it would not last 3 weeks.  Even 3 months seemed hard to fathom. …

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Psalm 93

As I have noted before here on CEP, at Calvin Seminary we use Paul Scott Wilson’s “Four Pages of the Sermon” method as the grammar and structure of sermons.  A key part of that is locating what Wilson calls “Trouble in the Text.”  What is the tension, the crisis, the question, the issue at hand…

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Psalm 119:1-8

In the world of secular music, I would guess you would be hard pressed to find many songs with titles like “I Just Love Rules!”  In fact the website Ranker provided their top list of songs with the word “law” in the title but songs of the variety “I’m Lovin’ the Law” don’t seem to…

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Psalm 19:7-14

Admittedly Psalm 19 all-but begs to get split into two parts.  That does not mean, however, that the Lectionary was correct to cave into doing just that.  Whoever wrote this poem saw unity in it even if the rest of us ever since have had to work a bit to connect the first 6 verses…

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2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

There is no question what this text is about—the ark of the covenant.  It is mentioned over and over, nine times in all.  So is David; his name comes up even more.  David brings the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem.  That’s what this text is about.  But, so what?  Why was that so important…

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Matthew 4:1-11

Many of us have seen the bumper sticker, “Lead Me Not into Temptation: I Can Find It By Myself.”  Cheeky humor aside, we know that God never actively leads us to sin and probably does not actively lead us to temptation (though this need not rule out God’s ability to test our faith).  God is…

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Psalm 147:12-20

Two rather striking features to this psalm leap out at you.  First, there is the singularly positive, sunny statements about how God has strengthened Jerusalem, given peace within Israel’s borders, and just generally provides a warm and safe environment for God’s people.  The second striking feature is the celebration at the end of Psalm 147…

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Philippians 3:4b-14

“Are you becoming perfect?” is the provocative question with which Carole Noren begins a fine sermon (Pulpit Resource, October, November, December, 2002, p. 5) on the Epistolary Lesson the RCL appoints for this Sunday.  It is an appropriate question.  After all, Jesus, in Matthew 5:48, calls us to “Be perfect . . . as your…

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Philippians 3:4b-14

When the cross of Christ was on the line, Paul’s language was blunt, direct, raw. As Paul begins what we call Philippians 3, it quickly becomes apparent that like so many of the congregations in the early church, so also the congregation in Philippi had come into contact with a group of Jewish teachers who…

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Exodus 15:22-27

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider Three days is a long time to go without finding water, especially if you have little ones under four. Nursing mothers are beginning to get desperate. When water is sighted, the kids run to it, laughing, whooping, but just a taste leaves them gagging, spluttering, wiping their tongues on…

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Acts 15:1-21

I’m going to start with the obvious observation that talking about circumcision is not simply an abstract theological conversation. The core of the discussion might be theological principles that are rooted in the biblical story, but the consequences of it are painfully practical. In the case of people new to the faith, being informed that…

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Nehemiah 8:1-12

Comments and Observations It must have been a long, hot, tense six months.  The book of Nehemiah tells the story of the return of the exiles and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.   Nehemiah secures permission to return to his home land in order to rebuild the walls.  But not everyone is pleased by…

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