Tag: <span>love</span>

Summary: The Apostle Paul is in the middle of an extended discussion about spiritual gifts when he breaks stride to explain the importance of love. It isn’t just that love is an amazing force for good; love is permanent. Love does not energize spiritual gifts; love is the point of all the spiritual gifts. That’s a critical thing for preachers to remember, since preachers as much as anyone else have a responsibility to exercise and build their gifts. They also need to devote themselves to love and urge others to love. Nothing else matters. This is a vital message, too, for people doing ministry during a pandemic in a divided and frustrated society, when loving others is much more difficult than it sounds. Fortunately love never falters.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

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Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd, not because he is kind or gentle, but because he is powerful, vigilant, and self-giving. That comforting metaphor works because Jesus has ascended or, as John’s Gospel puts it, he has returned to the loving and intimate communion he shares with the God he calls his Father. His watchful care is a feature of his power. The care he provides does not mean we are kept safe from all harm in this dangerous world. Rather, it means that we can be confident that he holds our identity, our connection to him, and our participation in Divine love securely. The watchfulness and concern he provides comes as a sharp contrast to the ways our leaders, structures, and societies frequently let us down and treat people as expendable.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on John 10:11-18. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Believing in God’s love is much easier than trusting in it. Trust implies action and a willingness to open ourselves up. It has become increasingly difficult to trust in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and God’s love appears not to have motivated the most of our wider society to imitate it. To embrace a passage like the one in which Jesus insists that he has come because “God so loved the world,” we need to do more than just convince ourselves and our neighbors about God’s love and its benefits. We need to open ourselves up to the magnetic power of that love, something we experience less through intellect and more through desire.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on John 3:14-21. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Jesus begins his Sermon on the Plain by declaring some people to be “blessed” and speaking “woe” to others. He declares that he will bring satisfaction to those who are poor, hungry, grieving, and suffering ostracism. On the other side, he warns those who are wealthy, well fed, joyful, and respected by their communities that something is wrong. Their perceived advantages and security are illusory, because he is at work elsewhere. Jesus then goes on to urge people to practice love and nonretaliation. On the whole, he is speaking about a new society or a new state of affairs that his ministry inaugurates. He promises to create a new community that operates with a different set of values. In this community, Jesus lifts up those who suffer deprivation and calls others to practice solidarity with them.

I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage, particularly to celebrate All Saints Day. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary