A Reformation Day Epistle

Colleagues, The Reformation drew scant attention in Cleveland, Ohio today, its 500th anniversary notwithstanding. There were no parades in city streets, nor any Lutheran crowds flocking as once they might have to a downtown venue for a jubilant celebration. If any congregations bothered to hold their own muted liturgies, I didn’t hear about it. Mine didn’t. After all, it was a …

“Think Gospel, Preach Christ!” Lessons from Elert for Today’s Church (Part 2)

Colleagues, Here is the second installment of Ed Schroeder’s “Kerygma, Dogma, and Ethos: What We Preach, What We Confess, Who We Become.” There is much to digest here. Chew slowly, with thanks to God. Installment Three will follow in seven days. For the story behind this essay, see last week’s introduction by guest editor Stephen Hitchcock. Peace and Joy, Jerry …

Ecumenical Preaching

Colleagues, Steven Kuhl recently sent me today’s offering. It first appeared twelve years in a publication that later went out of business. You will join me, I’m sure, in agreeing with Steve about its fitness for a rerun as the monumental Reformation anniversary looms. For more on that, see the Afterword. Peace and Joy, Jerry Burce ________________________________________________ The CORE of Ecumenical Preaching …

Reading the Hurricanes

Colleagues, As it happens, I write this on Saturday, September 9. The first thing I saw on the New York Times website this morning were updates on Hurricane Irma. Photos hinted at horrors endured already on Caribbean islands. A graphic foretold of horrors to come along Florida’s Gulf Coast. I am sinfully glad right now that I live in Cleveland, Ohio. Such …

Why Jesus? A Preacher’s Mission-Minded Reflections

Colleagues, Thursday Theology went quiet this Easter season. The undersigned, responsible for pushing it out, spent one of the seven weeks in Israel, and the other six sidelined by a weird combination of unusual busyness in the job that pays and a bout of mental torpor. Finally Pentecost blew in, dislodging some cobwebs. Or so I hope. The Gospel text for most …

Easter Mission in 2017 (A Homily by Martin Lohrmann)

Colleagues, This Sunday, the Second of Easter, we hear the first conclusion of St. John’s Gospel in the unabashed confession of Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” This strikes as an excellent time to a pass along a contribution I got in late January from Martin Lohrmann, who teaches Reformation history and theology at Wartburg Seminary. Martin recently served a term on …

Caveat Caesar, Emerging from the Shadows, and Other Thoughts for Easter

Colleagues, I dare this week to pass along some notions I threw together eighteen years ago, A.D. 1999, about the texts we’ll be listening to again this coming Easter Sunday. I shared them that year with a text study group. I unearthed them this morning, quite by accident, for today’s version of the same group. On scanning them it crossed …

The Eerie Wonder of Tennessee Jack Daniels

Colleagues, Two Sundays ago St. John’s account of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus was read in churches around the world. Many of you caught it, some for the hundredth time. So to get things started today, a quick question: to whom was Jesus referring when he spoke of the wind blowing where it pleases, of which you hear the sound, not …