I’ll admit that I’m not too fond of sin. I’m speaking, of course, as a pastor and a preacher describing a bias in my preaching that I’ve carried for years. Too often in my experience the church has been a “guilt-giving culture,” and I have committed myself to preaching grace.
Articles by this author:
William Willimon. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002. 386 pp. $17.00.
Willimon’s announced task is to describe the theology and practice of ordained Christian ministry. His provocative book begins with an analysis of ordination and a description of images of the pastor that are common in contemporary culture. Chapter by chapter, he then describes and reflects on the biblical images of the pastor as priest, preacher, counselor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, and leader.
Go with the familiar! This advice has meant a lot to me as I consider worship planning. As a pastor, too often I have looked for unique, one-of-a-kind approaches to Christmas, Lent, and the other “standard events” of the Christian year. This year I felt compelled to go with the familiar and serve up a Lent/Easter series based on Psalm 23.
Each year we try to include a fresh and biblical celebration of Pentecost in our worship. When one member of the planning team offered the idea of using clear glass cylinders with floating candles, our imagination shifted into active gear. These candles could help create the aura suggested by Acts 2, where “tongues of fire” seemed to float around the room.
In the continuing challenge to keep our evening worship fresh, our congregation recently embarked on an unusual study of the book of Revelation. This book—full of dragon stories, horsemen, and angels—provided an intriguing series of nine worship services.
A reading of Acts 2:1-6 and John 3:16 in a variety of languages
The following reading for Pentecost is a very simple way to present the international celebration implicit in the day. It requires the use of several candles to be placed on a display table. Two readers present the first six verses from Acts 2, lighting a candle at the place where the text mentions the tongues of fire. Then, at the cue of Acts 2:6, various languages are used to present the essence of the gospel as described in John 3:16.
Worldwide Communion Sunday (or 'All Nations Heritage Sunday/' as it is often called in the Christian Reformed Church) is held each year on the first Sunday of October. The day presents a wonderful opportunity to broaden the perspective of the local church and experience and celebrate "the Communion of the Saints," as is professed in the Apostles' Creed.