Craft of Preaching

Dear Working Preacher

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

Herod, Too, Is the Reason for the Season

In his arresting Advent sermon “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this in response to our tendency to turn the Incarnation

Holding on to Advent

What a difference a pronoun makes.

The promise of Jesus’ birth and Jesus’ name is, “God is with us,” not “God is with you

Testify to God’s Great Joy

Here we are, Working Preachers,

’Tis the season. It’s not yet Christmas, though. Despite the trees with lights hung, and places with carols

John and the Two Sides of the Pulpit

I wonder who baptized John.

He might have had to do it himself. But I hope someone helped. Even Jesus sought out another human being to baptize him. He

The Golden Hour

Let’s begin with an confession: This is a challenging text.

It is made more so by the fact that the phrase, “thief in the night,” is

On Orange Cars and Gratitude for Preaching Another Year

I open this week’s letter with a question for you and then a word of thanks. The question: How many orange cars or trucks did you see on your last

This Far by Faith

Apocalyptic themes fascinate, confuse, and rebuff us.

Almost everyone who comes to worship this week will have encountered some form of End Times theology

Be Present and Engaged

It’s a good week to read Haggai. It may or may not be a good week to preach Haggai—only you and the Holy Spirit know that for sure—but

Pausing to Grieve

What a month to come through as we turn toward All Saints Day, dear Working Preachers.

Some of you will know that I recently moved out of the first year

Other People's Prayers

Imagine if you could hear the prayers of people in your congregation.

Of course, sometimes you can, assuming the person offering them is part of a committee

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