Exhortation, First Sunday of Lent

This is the first Sunday in the traditional season of Lent, and as we enter this season we’ve made some changes in the liturgy. We will not be raising our hands, and we will say rather than sing some of the dialogue between the pastor and congregation. Several of the prayers are Lenten . . . . Continue Reading »

Wedding Sermon

A few minutes ago, you each answered a question I posed to you. I asked you if you would take her as your wife, and whether you would pledge yourself to her as her husband. I asked you whether you would take him as your husband to love and honor him. Both of you have made these promises “so . . . . Continue Reading »

Eschatological meaning

Thanks to my student Larson Hicks for the substance of this post. Until a command is fully carried out, we don’t have a complete grasp of what the command means or requires of us. “Take Normandy Beach,” solider are told, but that order demands courageous charges, sacrificial . . . . Continue Reading »

Stripping the year

Much as I admire the Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians, I believe they erred when they stripped the church calendar to an annual cycle of fifty-two Sundays. They reduced the rich melody of the earlier calendar to a repetitive ticking of the clock. But the problem actually goes deeper. . . . . Continue Reading »

Stripping the flesh

Paul appears to be describing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in Colossians 2:11-12. The “stripping of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” refers to the crucifixion of Jesus, which fulfills what the rite of circumcision symbolized - the removal of flesh. . . . . Continue Reading »

By the Spirit

Paul says that one can only say “Jesus is Lord” by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). He adds later in the same chapter that we are incorporated into the body, the one-and-many body of the visible church, by “one Spirit” (12:13). Surely Paul exaggerates. Anybody can say Jesus . . . . Continue Reading »

Righteousness by faith

ERH sees faith not as a “religious” issue but as one of the driving forces of history. All revolutions begin in faith, and the faith that drives historical change is a faith that is reckoned as justice: “Faith is a belief in things unseen; it goes against hope, it defies all odds, . . . . Continue Reading »

American Revolution

Was the American Revolution a Revolution? ERH concludes it was a “half-revolution” rather than a total revolution on the scale of the Russian, French, Puritan, Reformation, and Papal revolutions. Evaluating the revolutionary character of the American Revolution rests partly on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Liturgical uniformity

To outsiders, the Roman Catholic church appears to have a uniform liturgical tradition, of long standing. Rosenstock-Huessy points out that the uniformity of the Mass is a rather late development. During the 19th century, “the movement of Solesmes united all the churches of the Catholic world . . . . Continue Reading »

Receiving brothers

Within two verses, John accuses Diotrephes of refusing to “receive us” and refusing to “receive the brethren” (3 John 9-10). The first refers to an acknowledgement of authority; receiving “us,” the elder and his co-workers, would mean listening and obeying. The . . . . Continue Reading »