Sermons, Proclaim
60 Articles at Lifeissues.net

Proclaim is a leading resource used by thousands of pastors to help them with their preaching ministry every Sunday of the year. Our sermons are freshly written by our renowned staff of writers, based on the lectionary calendar, timed to today’s concerns and are always biblically relevant.

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Articles

New! Healing Our Hungers (8/1/21 Ordinary Time 18)

As in other places in scripture, John draws a connection between food and faith. Jesus came as the bread of life, who feeds our spiritual hunger. One way to respond is to heal our relationship to physical food.

Date posted: 2021-07-20

No Crowd-Funded King (7/25/21 Ordinary Time 17)

Our tradition refers to Jesus as "king" ad infinitum, and that is fine and good and certainly not ad nauseam - but this passage offers us some surprising insights about the kind of king he might be. What kind of king is he - and what kind of subjects are we to be?

Date posted: 2021-07-06

The Labor of Compassion

Compassion is a way of seeing, of feeling, of seeing again, and then of doing.

Date posted: 2021-07-05

The Big Picture

During the past century, scientific investigations have revealed the vast extent of our universe in both space and time, raising questions about the significance of our lives on this single planet. Our text from Ephesians is about the meaning of our lives and the whole creation from a different standpoint, that of faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God's plan is for "all things" to be united in fellowship with Christ.

Date posted: 2021-07-03

Good Trouble

Christians face rejection when they work for justice on behalf of the powerless. But Jesus found, in his hometown, that his own words and work caused offense.

Date posted: 2021-06-22

Taking Jesus at His Word

In this account of Jesus healing two people, we see two common threads: taking Jesus at his word and admitting that one's need is greater than one's resources. Regardless of how far medicine and science and knowledge advance, we should never keep Jesus out of the picture.

Date posted: 2021-06-22

The Question Game

It's annoying when someone repeatedly responds to a question with another question. Try it sometime, but only if you want to be considered an irritating and egotistical boor, or evasive and non-responsive. Yet, in today's gospel reading, all of the spoken words between Jesus and his disciples are questions! What's going on?

Date posted: 2021-06-08

A Most Extraordinary Ordinary Time

We are confident that we have access to something greater than the body, in this life, even though the body and physical reality are really all we can see and really know, because "... we walk by faith, not by sight." Faith is a walk, not just something we claim to see. We claim life beyond physical reality by way of how we walk while in the body.

Date posted: 2021-06-08

Whos Your Daddy?

By grace we are all adopted into Gods family.

Date posted: 2021-05-18

Holy Spirit Ears

Experiencing the Holy Spirit is a community event, not a moment of private spirituality. Communication requires community participation, both of speakers and listeners. Speakers need listeners if they are to be understood.

Date posted: 2021-05-17

Rolling the Dice

After the death of Judas, the disciples met, nominated two candidates to replace him, prayed and then cast lots. That seems like an odd way to go about the work of the Lord. But regardless of what method we use to call leadership in the church, prayer is essential, as well as faith that it is God who strengthens us and makes us equal to the task.

Date posted: 2021-05-16

Filled to the Brim

Jesus wants us to be completely flooded and fulfilled with joy. Such filling happens when we practice self-giving love."

Date posted: 2021-05-03

It's Always Pruning Season

Using metaphorical language, Jesus describes himself as the true vine and God as the vine dresser. And he insists that his followers stay connected to the vine so they can produce good fruit. What this requires is pruning away whatever gets in the way of that vital task.

Date posted: 2021-04-28

The Hired Hand

Summary: The hired hand as a heroic, perhaps mythic figure, is ingrained into the fabric of American's history, especially in the West. Often, hired hands were nomadic, working on a ranch in Wyoming in the summer and Arizona in the winter. Jesus mentions the hired hand in today's gospel reading, so the concept is worth another look. What we find out is that possibly Jesus himself was a hired hand. Or does he really fit this definition? Perhaps there is, as Jesus suggests, a crucial difference between himself as the "Good Shepherd" and a hired hand.

Date posted: 2021-04-19

Bearing Witness to the Resurrection

Just before his ascension Jesus had some last words for his disciples. One statement, "You are witnesses of these things," had special significance for the disciples, and it has special significance for disciples today. Being a witness is not optional. We ARE witnesses; we need to consider how we bear witness to the Resurrection.

Date posted: 2021-04-13

The Encouragers

Life includes plenty of sources of discouragement, but encouraging others is a true Christian ministry. We can encourage others by building them up, praying for them, stating the vision and offering direct words of encouragement.

Date posted: 2021-04-10

The Last Word (Easter Sunday Homily)

In this passage we see how people react to the Resurrection, to the knowledge that it's true, it really happened, Jesus really is risen ... risen indeed! And it is not the reaction that we ourselves have come to take for granted.

Date posted: 2021-03-31

God Never Finishes (Good Friday Homily)

Of all the gospels, John's is the most descriptive regarding Jesus' suffering during the Passion. When Jesus announces that "it is finished," he speaks those words in relief and faith in what God does in the Cross. After Jesus' death, the blood and water that come from Jesus' side represent God's grace from a desolate situation.

Date posted: 2021-03-31

Do You Know What He Has Done to You? (Holy Thursday Homily)

Humble service is at the heart of Christian discipleship.

Date posted: 2021-03-31

Memory Aid

Our favorite hymns not only speak our faith but are also memory aids. In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul includes a Christ hymn to help them remember that God not only took human form but also adopted the outlook of a slave to descend into misery and then was elevated to the highest height.

Date posted: 2021-03-23

Jesus the Priest

According to Israel's tradition, Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, couldn't have been a priest. But our text is about his preparation to be a high priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," as the preceding verses make clear. Through the trials and challenges of his ministry, he was able to make the perfect and final sacrifice, giving up his own life and rising again to reconcile sinners to God.

Date posted: 2021-03-16

Not-So-Secret Formula

God's formula for salvation includes grace and faith. When you put the two together, the result is good works.

Date posted: 2021-03-09

What Breaks God's Heart Should Also Break Ours

When Jesus overturned the money-changing tables in the Jerusalem temple, he was showing us how to be angry about the right things. He didn't focus on individuals there but, rather, on entire systems that oppressed and cheated people. Our work to fix what's wrong in our world also should be aimed at unjust, broken systems.

Date posted: 2021-03-03

Jesus Teaches Discipleship

Jesus understood our need for instruction. He offers himself as a model and teacher. But are we willing to follow someone who tells us we must "lose our life"?

Date posted: 2021-02-23

The Facts and the Acts

Today's reading comes from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark. If you haven't read the Gospels before, Mark is a good one to start with, in part because it gets to the point so quickly.

Date posted: 2021-02-18

The Healing Touch

Jesus touched a man with leprosy and healed him, and then instructed him to say nothing to anyone about who had healed him. But the man proclaimed it to everyone he saw. This man who could previously go nowhere now moved about freely; Jesus, who had been going anywhere he wanted, could now no longer go into town openly. Jesus paid a price to heal, and he paid a greater price when he went to the cross for us all.

Date posted: 2021-02-10

That Subversive Sabbath

Sabbath time is a different quality of time - and that's subversive!

Date posted: 2021-02-01

End the Isolation

In the story of the demoniac in the Capernaum synagogue, we are shown someone who can be found in the midst of the community of faith, yet who is isolated and all alone. When Jesus heals, Jesus restores the relationships between God and all of us. It may not occur to us that people in our midst feel isolated even when they're sitting in our midst. But it happens. For that matter, some of us may not have figured out we're the ones who feel apart and lost. We have a part to play in the healing, in the restoration and in the salvation.

Date posted: 2021-01-30

And Now the News

Mark doesn't waste words in getting to the heart of his message. The Baptist's arrest reminds us of dangers as Jesus comes proclaiming God's kingdom. Because the reign of God comes near, people are called to change their thinking and become part of that movement. And Jesus calls four fishermen to be the first of many to be instruments of the reconciliation that he brings.

Date posted: 2021-01-20

Unexpected Calls

Over half the calls that Americans now receive are unsolicited messages from spammers and scammers. But such annoyances should not prevent us from answering the call of God.

Date posted: 2021-01-12

The Breaking News of Jesus' Baptism

Jesus didn't explain why he felt he needed John to baptize him, but the act revealed who Jesus was and what his mission would be. Although Christians have shed blood over how to do and understand baptism, the important thing to remember is that baptism marks our individual entry into the communal mission of the church to spread Christ's good news.

Date posted: 2021-01-04

John's Christmas Story

John's message that the Word became flesh matters to us because God has identified with our human weakness, made a commitment to us and stands in solidarity with the ways the world harms our bodies.

Date posted: 2020-12-21

The Mystery of the Incarnation

The apostle Paul's letter to the Romans was written to Christ-following Gentiles who had attached themselves to Jewish congregations in Rome. Paul wants them to know that the incarnation means the reign of God has dawned - and not just for them but for the whole cosmos - and that they can live in the Kingdom of God today.

Date posted: 2020-12-16

Am and Am Not

The "I Am" statements in the Gospel of John define who Jesus is. In this passage John the Baptist, a witness to the light, defines himself with a series of "I Am Not" statements. These should lead us to consider who we are and who we are not, and help us become better witnesses to the light.

Date posted: 2020-12-09

Comfort!

Having lived through the 2020 pandemic, and as we continue through Advent, we are reminded through the ancient words of Isaiah that God is bigger and stronger than anything we may face in our lifetime. Add to that the knowledge of God's desire for us to be comforted, and we find hope in new and unexpected ways.

Date posted: 2020-12-05

Waking and Watching

Jesus concludes his discourse to his disciples about the future with a brief parable and the lessons they are to draw from it. We are to be alert, knowing what is going on in the world and thinking God is there. We know something that those first disciples didn't realize at the time: that God's work of new creation has already begun with the cross and resurrection of Christ. Knowing that, we are to watch for the signs that God is completing that work.

Date posted: 2020-11-23

Did I Do That?

What is striking about this tale of sheep and goats is that neither of them know Jesus. Neither sheep nor goats recognize him when he comes to them.

Date posted: 2020-11-18

When the Church Doesn't Make It to the Church on Time

In the parable of the bridesmaids, the church does not fulfill its identity as "salt and light." The foolish bridesmaids miss their chance to be the church in the world.

Date posted: 2020-11-03

It's What's Happening Now

Some Christians look to Revelation as a roadmap to the future that only they understand, despite what our Lord has told us about the futility of guessing about the end of the world. But on All Saints Day, we recognize that Revelation is about the present. In this present and eternal now, God's saints are gathered around the throne, encouraging us, interceding for us and celebrating God's triumph with us, as we all strive for the prize by living according to the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount.

Date posted: 2020-10-27

Gotcha Questions

A question about taxes was designed to damage and discredit Jesus. But he slipped out of trouble and revealed a new understanding about what belongs to God.

Date posted: 2020-10-17

An Invitation*

God is gracious. God is just. We often emphasize the first and ignore the latter. This parable includes both grace and justice. The good news is that God's grace is offered to all. We do a disservice to God and to God's grace if we believe there are not consequences for rejecting that same grace.

Date posted: 2020-10-06

Whose Church?

It's natural for Christians to refer to the congregations they belong to as "my church," but thinking that we really "own" the church can be a problem. In our text from Matthew, Jesus tells a parable directed at the religious authorities of his time in Jerusalem who acted as though they owned the temple and the community associated with it. Even though he was rejected by those authorities, Jesus has become the foundation of the church that is called to proclaim him.

Date posted: 2020-10-01

A Vignette From the Vineyard

Jesus uses a family drama to offer some hard teachings about faithfulness, and he gives us a snapshot of life in the church and the world that is just as applicable now as it was then.

Date posted: 2020-09-23

Measuring Success

In this parable, a landowner recruits workers throughout the day to work in his vineyard, but pays everyone the same daily wage regardless of the number of hours they worked that day, which angers those who labored the longest. How do we measure human value? Can human worth be measured in time or money? The parable warns against allowing one's self to be reduced to a reward for one's work and indicates that the kingdom of God has other metrics.

Date posted: 2020-09-16

Forgiveness Reps

Summary: Jesus wants us to get stronger and healthier by making the decision to forgive. He then challenges us to turn that choice into an ongoing process, based on a willingness to forgive others because God has forgiven us.

Date posted: 2020-09-10

The Other Presence in the Room

We cannot avoid conflict in the church. In our conflicts we allow our egos to do damage to the church and its witness. If we imagine the risen Christ with us in our disputes, would we treat each other in better ways?

Date posted: 2020-09-01

You Win Some, You Lose All

The cross of Jesus has a hard but necessary lesson to teach us: that, although life inevitably ends in death, it is in death that eternal life has its beginning.

Date posted: 2020-08-25

In the Midst of the Storm

Summary: Jesus is with us in the storms of life. We need to keep our eyes on him and trust him in everything.

Date posted: 2020-08-04

Tripping Over Treasure, Knowing Your Pearls

The queasy feeling we may have that a new reality is about to break through is justified. Jesus unabashedly announced that he was the forerunner of a new age. These three parables give us hints as to how this new reality will break through, and how we can prepare ourselves for it.

Date posted: 2020-07-21

Into the Weeds

Our prayer each week, the very reason for us to gather to do this liturgy, which means "work of the people," is to create the conditions so that we, like Merton, can come to realize the fullness of the beauty of our own humanity in concert with those around us. We gather to facilitate an environment where each person shines like the sun and the kingdom of heaven becomes ever so much clearer.

Date posted: 2020-07-16

Get Dirty

Summary: Jesus told a parable about our ability to receive a seed from God and produce an abundant harvest. If we are good soil, we'll be amazed by what is created.

Date posted: 2020-07-07

Our Limited Minds, Our Weary Souls

Even though Jesus teaches us that we can never fully understand God, we can use our intellects to gain a deeper perspective on what God reveals. All people, despite education or sophistication, can find rest for their souls in Jesus.

Date posted: 2020-06-29

Like Water for Strangers

Hospitality is among the most ancient of human traditions. On the most basic level, it's about providing the essentials of life for another person, especially another person who's on a journey. Food, water and a roof over the head: the essentials.

Date posted: 2020-06-22

God Likes Sparrows - But Loves You and Me

As Jesus prepares his disciples to proclaim the Good News to the world, he reminds them to always remember that each human being is precious in God's sight. That truth should inform how we live today, how we do ministry and how we encounter every person we meet, including people we don't much like.

Date posted: 2020-06-18

All Together Now

Sometimes the desire to take all the credit means we're not good collaborators. No one was more qualified to take all the credit than Jesus, yet he made his disciples collaborators in the work of the kingdom, and even called out twelve apostles who would assume great responsibility for making choices as collaborators. If Jesus could share the credit with these ordinary people, shouldn't we do the same?

Date posted: 2020-06-10

From Death to Life

Our Christian celebration of Pentecost - remembering the Holy Spirit and the infant church - turns a harvest of death, the old way of living, into a harvest of life, an alternative way to live and love.

Date posted: 2020-05-29

The Sermon I Wish I Didn't Have to Preach

When we face suffering, we reject the prosperity gospel - the understanding of suffering as punishment for sin - as well as a martyr's complex. We seek God's strength in the midst of our suffering, and we hope for the resurrection.

Date posted: 2020-05-13

The Fulcrum of Our Faith

Our confession of Jesus as God's Son provides the firm foundation for our faith. It is to place ourselves in the position of having to make a decision, one way or the other, for him or against him - not so much to decide between competing medical theories of his birth, but to decide whether we are ready to stake our lives on him. Are you ready to do that today?

Date posted: 2020-05-04

Metaphors Galore: A Shepherd, a Gate, a Lamb

To the people who heard him, sometimes Jesus seemed to speak in riddles they just didn't understand. But even if Jesus' listeners were metaphor-challenged, we don't have to be. We can figure out the message of grace, love and abundant life that Jesus wants us to grasp.

Date posted: 2020-04-27

What Are You Worth?

We may wonder about how other people in our lives and in society in general evaluate us. A more important question, though, especially because of our sinfulness, is what value we have for God. Our text tells us that we are so valued in God's sight that the Son of God gave his life to restore us to fellowship with God. This was, in fact, God's plan "before the foundation of the world."

Date posted: 2020-04-22