Russell Pregeant

3rd Sunday of Easter

April 26, 2009
See Also: 
Reading 2: 
Psalm 4
Reading 3: 
Acts 3:12-19 or 1 John 3:1-7
Reading 4: 
Luke 24:36b-48
By Russell Pregeant

The selections from Luke and Acts reflect several aspects of a theology of history that pervades the two-volume work. In the gospel reading, the risen Jesus “opens the minds” of the disciples “to understand the scriptures,” indicating that both his death/ resurrection and the disciples’ mission of preaching forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations were prophesied in those writings (24:45-48).

2nd Sunday of Easter

April 19, 2009
See Also: 
Reading 2: 
Psalm 133
Reading 3: 
Acts 4:32-35 or 1 John 1:1-2:2
Reading 4: 
John 20:19-31
By Russell Pregeant

Christian faith should not be reduced to mere belief, whether in doctrinal propositions or in the factuality of reports of miraculous events. However, belief is an essential component of faith, and the question of the basis of faith is an important (and tantalizing!) theological issue. The Gospel of John is nothing like a systematic theology, but in its own imaginative blend of story and discourse it wrestles mightily with this question; and the story of so-called “Doubting Thomas” in 20:19-31 is a focal point of reflection on this matter.

Easter Sunday

April 12, 2009
See Also: 

Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Sermons:
John Cobb on atonement
John Cobb on redemption
John Cobb on Jesus

Nance 2006
Sauter 2003

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 25:6-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43
Reading 4: 
John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8
By Russell Pregeant

Mark’s version of the empty tomb story might seem a poor choice, as an alternative to the elaborate Johannine text, for Easter Sunday. After all, there isn’t much of a resurrection story there. The women who come to the tomb find it empty, and they hear an announcement of Jesus’ resurrection by the young man in a white robe. But Mark gives no accounts of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, and the women fail to tell the others that he has been raised and simply flee in terror. End of story.

Good Friday

April 10, 2009
See Also: 

Lenten Candle Liturgy
John Cobb on redemption
Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Reading 4: 
John 18:1-19:42
By Russell Pregeant

The alternative epistle reading, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, provides an interesting and potentially fruitful counterpoint to John’s passion narrative. Hebrews and the Gospel of John were both major sources of the eventual development of the doctrine of the two natures of Christ. There is, however, little indication of Jesus’ humanity in John’s account of his arrest and trial. There is no hint of the agony in Gethsemane portrayed in the synoptics, and throughout the story Jesus seems to be the one in control of the unfolding events.

Christmas - Proper 3

December 25, 2006
See Also: 

Year A
Year B
Year C

Christmas 2000 Proper I, Year B

John Cobb on Incarnation
Daniel Day Williams on incarnation

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:7-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 98
Reading 4: 
John 1:1-14
By Russell Pregeant

There are aspects of the first chapter of the Gospel of John that are particularly process-friendly. John 1 is, of course, the incarnation text par excellence. What makes it so amenable to a process interpretation is that the incarnation of the Logos in the person of Jesus is not simply the invasion of a reality that is alien to the world; it stands, rather, in continuity with the presence of the Logos in all creation.

Christmas - Proper III

December 25, 2006
See Also: 

Year A
Year B
Year C

Christmas 2000 Proper I, Year B

John Cobb on Incarnation
Daniel Day Williams on incarnation

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:7-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 98
Reading 3: 
John 1:1-14
By Russell Pregeant

There are aspects of the first chapter of the Gospel of John that are particularly process-friendly. John 1 is, of course, the incarnation text par excellence. What makes it so amenable to a process interpretation is that the incarnation of the Logos in the person of Jesus is not simply the invasion of a reality that is alien to the world; it stands, rather, in continuity with the presence of the Logos in all creation.

Proper 21

September 29, 2002
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 17:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Reading 3: 
Philippians 2:1-13
Reading 4: 
Matthew 21:23-32
By Russell Pregeant

Once again the readings from Exodus and Psalms stand in partial contrast to one another. The psalm is a resounding celebration of God’s mighty acts on behalf of Israel, among which is counted the incident reported in the doublets Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:2-13.

Proper 20

September 22, 2002
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 16:2-15 (16-21)
Reading 2: 
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Reading 3: 
Philippians 1:21-30
Reading 4: 
Matthew 20:1-16
By Russell Pregeant

The Israelites grumble (NIV; RSV complain; KJV murmur) against Moses and Aaron in Exodus, and the all-day workers grumble against their employer in Matthew’s parable. The scenarios are very different, but each response is in its own way a resounding rejection of grace. The psalm, by contrast, articulates the opposite, positive, response to God’s mighty acts on Israel ’s behalf: praise, thanksgiving, celebration, and—in the concluding verses—obedience to God’s laws.

Proper 19

September 15, 2002
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 14:19-31
Reading 3: 
Romans 14:1-12
Reading 4: 
Matthew 18:21-35
Alt Reading 1: 
Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21
By Russell Pregeant

Freedom lies at the very heart of process thought. God lures the world process to develop creatures with increasingly greater degrees of freedom, in order to give rise to greater intensity of experience. Whatever enhances freedom therefore enhances the possibility of significant experience, and this is as true on the socio-political level as it is on the cosmic level. Process theology thus has a natural affinity with the various theologies of liberation.

Proper 18

September 8, 2002
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 12:1-14
Reading 2: 
Psalm 149
Reading 3: 
Romans 13:8-14
Reading 4: 
Matthew 18:15-20
By Russell Pregeant

The relationship between insider and outsider is an issue that pervades the biblical tradition as a whole. The questions seem simple enough on the surface: How do those within a covenant community view those outside it, and what are the terms for maintaining the insider status?  But a comparison of the two psalms for this Sunday reveals a typical ambiguity on the first question.

Proper 17

September 1, 2002
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 3:1-15
Reading 2: 
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Reading 3: 
Romans 12:9-21
Reading 4: 
Matthew 16:21-28
By Russell Pregeant

The lectionary readings for this Sunday contain some intriguing tensions that offer rich potential for homiletical exploration from a process perspective. There are elements also that invite critical reflection.

Proper 13

July 31, 2005
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 32:22-31
Reading 2: 
Psalm 17:1-7, 15
Reading 3: 
Romans 9:1-5
Reading 4: 
Matthew 14:13-21
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21
Alt Reading 1: 
Isaiah 55:1-5
By Russell Pregeant

Matthew 14:13-21

Proper 12

July 24, 2005
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 29:15-28
Reading 2: 
Psalm 105:1-11
Reading 3: 
Romans 8:26-39
Reading 4: 
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
By Russell Pregeant

Matt. 13:31-33, 44-52
The selection from Matthew is again from the parables discourse, so that the theme of the conflict of the Rule of Heaven/God with that of Satan is still in the background. The Parable of the Net emphasizes the coming judgment and makes clear that not everyone who initially responds to the preaching of the word will survive that judgment. It therefore has the character of a warning to church members, which makes a fitting thematic conclusion to the string of parables that comprises most of the chapter.

Proper 11

July 17, 2005
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 28:10-19a
Reading 2: 
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
Reading 3: 
Romans 8:12-25
Reading 4: 
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 86:11-17
Alt Reading 1: 
Wisdome of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or Isaiah 44:6-8
By Russell Pregeant

Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43

Proper 10

July 10, 2005
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 25:19-34
Reading 2: 
Psalm 119:105-112
Reading 3: 
Romans 8:1-11
Reading 4: 
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 65: (1-8) 9-13
Alt Reading 1: 
Isaiah 55:10-13
By Russell Pregeant

Matt.13:1-9, 18-23

Proper 9

July 3, 2005
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Reading 2: 
Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Reading 3: 
Romans 7:151-25a
Reading 4: 
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 145:8-14
Alt Reading 1: 
Zechariah. 9:9-12
By Russell Pregeant

Matt. 11:16-19, 225-30

Easter Sunday

March 21, 2008
See Also: 

Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Sermons:
John Cobb on atonement
John Cobb on redemption
John Cobb on Jesus

Nance 2006
Sauter 2003

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 10:16-25
Reading 4: 
John 18:1-19:42
By Russell Pregeant

The passion narratives in all four gospels are virtual minefields of problems for those who preach from a progressive theological stance. To begin with, they are riddled with passages and motifs that have fed anti-Jewish sentiments through the centuries. And, particularly when combined with the lectionary readings such as those from Hebrews and the Hebrew Bible, they can easily be read in such a way as to lend support to notions of atonement that call God’s essential goodness into question and stretch the limits of reasonable thought.

Easter Sunday

April 12, 2009
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 25:6-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Reading 3: 
1 Cor. 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43
Reading 4: 
John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8
By Russell Pregeant

Mark’s version of the empty tomb story might seem a poor choice, as an alternative to the elaborate Johannine text, for Easter Sunday. After all, there isn’t much of a resurrection story there. The women who come to the tomb find it empty, and they hear an announcement of Jesus’ resurrection by the young man in a white robe. But Mark gives no accounts of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, and the women fail to tell the others that he has been raised and simply flee in terror. End of story.

Good Friday

April 10, 2009
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Reading 4: 
John 18:1-19:42
By Russell Pregeant

The alternative epistle reading, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, provides an interesting and potentially fruitful counterpoint to John’s passion narrative. Hebrews and the Gospel of John were both major sources of the eventual development of the doctrine of the two natures of Christ. There is, however, little indication of Jesus’ humanity in John’s account of his arrest and trial. There is no hint of the agony in Gethsemane portrayed in the synoptics, and throughout the story Jesus seems to be the one in control of the unfolding events.

Good Friday

March 21, 2008
See Also: 

Lenten Candle Liturgy
John Cobb on redemption
Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus (Cobb)

Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 10:16-25
Reading 4: 
John 18:1-19:42
By Russell Pregeant

The passion narratives in all four gospels are virtual minefields of problems for those who preach from a progressive theological stance. To begin with, they are riddled with passages and motifs that have fed anti-Jewish sentiments through the centuries. And, particularly when combined with the lectionary readings such as those from Hebrews and the Hebrew Bible, they can easily be read in such a way as to lend support to notions of atonement that call God’s essential goodness into question and stretch the limits of reasonable thought.

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