Summary: The conclusion of the church year, Reign of Christ (or Christ the King) Sunday presents preachers with an opportunity to reflect on the future, especially to examine what assumptions about the future influence their own theologies and sermons. The scene in John’s Gospel when Pontius Pilate interrogates Jesus manifests the failure of Pilate’s imagination. He cannot understand Jesus’ identity as a king in a manner other than what he is used to; it must be about power and domination. Pilate’s categories are inflexible. This resembles too much Christian preaching and teaching about the future and about the nature of the gospel. A kingdom or reign that is “not from this world” is one that is unfamiliar to this world and our norms. One piece of a preacher’s job description is to break open our closed minds so that we might imagine and live into a future that is indeed different.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on John 18:33-37. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
Staggering Love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
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.
Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary
apostle paul charismata covid-19 love preaching selfishness spiritual gifts