Preaching Connection: Thanksgiving

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Reading for Preaching

A Verse of Matthias Claudius

To receive a gift, say “’Thank you! It makes me very happy! I am so pleased to have it! It will remind me of you!’” Keep it simple. Don’t complicate matters. Don’t “divide the indivisible.” Don’t (1)pretend not to want it. “’Oh, that’s much too good for me. You shouldn’t have. Please take it back...
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Additional content related to Thanksgiving

Psalm 113

In Robert Duvall’s film, The Apostle, we see a vignette of what could be described as a very “in your face” style of praise.  The revival worship services of a certain stripe of Deep South fundamentalism are high-decibel, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, gizzard-piercing spectacles that are most decidedly not for the faint of heart! And yet, in…

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Hebrews 12:18-29

What might Christian worship look like if each service began with Hebrews’, “Let us … worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”? What affect on worship might a sticky note on preachers, worship planners and leaders’ computers that read, “Let us … worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” have? Those who proclaim and hear…

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Colossians 1:1-14

Elements of this week’s Epistolary Lesson are faintly reminiscent of Huck Finn’s experience with prayer. In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck recounts how his foster mother, Miss Watson, tried to teach him to pray. “Miss Watson … took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray…

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Psalm 16

Psalm 16 presents the words of a person whose life appears to be going swimmingly. Everything is working for this poet. These look to be the words of a winner, of a person who was born sunny-side up as a confirmed optimist. And I suspect we’ve all met people like this. I also suspect that…

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Psalm 22:19-28

Ordinary Time is just beginning yet the Lectionary directs us to a sometimes difficult psalm.  Yes, we are being asked to consider only the hope-filled, praise-filled conclusion to this poem but it’s not as though we can forget its terrible opening set of verses.  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” brings us…

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Joshua 5:9-12

These four verses from Joshua 5 are rather innocuous looking.  There is a lot of high drama in Joshua—and not a little of that drama is the stuff of deeply troubling matters involving holy war and total war and violence perpetuated by God’s people.  But these verses appear to be mostly devoid of drama.  They…

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Psalm 138

The Lectionary likes Psalm 138 and slates it sometimes in Ordinary Time and sometimes in Epiphany.  I have several sermon commentaries on the CEP site on Psalm 138 but for this week I will riff on the last time I wrote about this in the Sundays after Epiphany. I have noted often in my sermon…

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Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Quick!  What is your favorite verse from the Book of Nehemiah? Ask that of most churchgoing Christians and the answer is likely to be, “Ummm . . . Not sure.”  Although some people may be familiar with the overall storyline of Nehemiah, mostly the specifics are not widely known.  So if you said to someone,…

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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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Hebrews 5:1-10

The master preacher scholar Fred Craddock once called the books of Hebrews and Revelation, “the literature most intimidating to readers of the New Testament.” After all, Hebrews’ Preacher packs his letter with tightly woven arguments that assume familiarity with Israel’s wilderness life. As Craddock also notes, however, even Hebrews’ writer seems to sense that his…

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Psalm 145:10-18

The Lectionary likes Psalm 145 but chops it up a little differently each time.  That’s a shame since the psalm is meant to be read as a single unit and presents a unified theme too.  Probably for this particular Sunday the RCL chose this part of Psalm 145 because of the verse about God’s giving…

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1 Corinthians 1:3-9

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s “twin themes” of Paul’s thanksgiving and the return of Jesus Christ may seem particularly appropriate this week. After all, this first Sunday in Advent falls just three days after (U.S.) Americans’ celebration of Thanksgiving and at the beginning of the season of heightened anticipation of Jesus’ second coming. However, 1 Corinthians…

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Psalm 16

Psalm 16 presents the words of a person whose life appears to be going swimmingly.  Everything is working for this poet.  These look to be the words of a winner, of a person who was born sunny-side up as a confirmed optimist.  And I suspect we’ve all met people like this.  I also suspect that…

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Psalm 22:19-28

Ordinary Time is just beginning in the early summertime of 2019 yet the Lectionary directs us to a sometimes difficult psalm.  Yes, we are being asked to consider only the hope-filled, praise-filled conclusion to this poem but it’s not as though we can forget its terrible opening set of verses.  “My God, my God, why…

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Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Call it the little Psalm that could.  Call it the Psalm of stealth and surprise.  Call it the Psalm that fits the Gospel bill. Why?  Because out of all the 150 psalms in the Hebrew Psalter, many people have their favorites but those favorites—most anybody’s “Top 10 Greatest Hits of the Psalter” list—would likely not…

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