"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Get inspired to preach more effective sermons in these trying times at the Craft of Preaching conference Oct. 5-7, featuring Joy J. Moore, Kenyatta R. Gilbert, and Jared E. Alcántara.
Rebuilding the Temple
Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13 Commentary
by Rachel Wrenn
On this third Sunday in Advent, we jump from Isaiah 40 to Ezra 1-3.
There is a considerable chronological gap between our weekly Advent readings, significant enough that you may want to start this sermon by walking through the historical action we’ve covered in the past few weeks. On Advent 1, God spoke to Jeremiah in the midst of an embattled and besieged Jerusalem. On Advent 2, Jerusalem has fallen, and God spoke through Isaiah to the grieving people who fled or were exiled to Babylon (roughly modern-day Baghdad, Iraq). The hopeful tone of Isaiah’s words have led some scholars to believe that Isaiah knew or could sense in the political climate an end to the exile and a return home. He may have known this because of the arrival of King Cyrus in Babylon, a person we meet right off the bat in Ezra 1:1.
Cyrus was the king of Persia (ancient Iran, roughly), and he arrived as conqueror in Babylon with a very different concept of empire. While the Babylonians dominated other nation-states through violence and exile, Cyrus and the Persians conquered, ...
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2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 385: Rebuilding the Temple
December 15, 2019
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for Dec. 15, 2019, (Rebuilding the Temple) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.