Craft of Preaching

Dear Working Preacher

Insights, ideas and inspiration related to the coming week's lectionary texts.

Taking the Fork in the Road

Thanks for preaching the Word, in season and out of season—steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord. Your preaching of God’s Word

An Attitude of Gratitude

One of the things I practiced as a parent, and hoped to instill as a habit, was to have my sons write thank-you notes for the various gifts they received.

How Long, O Lord?

I know it is the custom in this column to focus on the Gospel text, but this week I’m going to focus primarily on the Old Testament reading from Habakkuk.

Unprecedented Warnings

This week I’ve found myself struggling to switch my voice from a local congregation in Flint, Michigan, to you who preach in various locations around

Dirty Rotten Preaching Scoundrels

Once, when I was an M.Div. student, my teacher Beverly Roberts Gaventa told the class, “You’ll write a better exegetical paper if you choose

Lost and Found

Dear Working Preachers, it is good to be back. After five years, 1000 words a week, I sensed a need for a break, in part to work on some writing projects

Choose Life

This is one of those weeks when, after reading the Gospel lesson, you might feel like putting a question mark after the usual liturgical formula: “This

Hashtag VIP?

Here’s a headline that captured my attention:

Stop working on your personal brand—you’re wasting your time.1

The article promising a

Liberating Sabbath

Luke closely associates Jesus’ public ministry with both the sabbath and the synagogue, beginning already in Luke 4:16-30. In fact, this week’s

Jesus’ Ministry of Fire

If consensus exists around anything today in American society, it is that we are afflicted by “division.” This general sense of heightened divisiveness

Sleeping with Makeup On

I read recently that Dolly Parton leaves her makeup on all night when she’s away from home. She told the New York Times, “You never know if

Poor Fool

This is one of those weeks when preachers find a text pretty easy to interpret but the sermon hard to deliver.

Ah, but it’s never easy to interpret

Who Taught You How to Pray?

It’s a very personal, intimate thing, one’s prayer life. Getting started at praying is less like learning how to drive a car, how to play the

Now Is the Time

Be careful with this one, Dear Working Preachers. The story of Mary and Martha in Luke’s Gospel has been subject to feats of hermeneutical acrobatics

Just Ask

The Good Samaritan. The ubiquity of this passage in society and in our shared discourse is more than enough to encourage a sermon on another text. A story