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Sermon for Maundy Thursday
Preaching And Reading The Old Testament Lessons: With an Eye to the New The Perfect Example to Follow
Sermon by John W. Clarke based on John 13:1-17, 31b-35 excerpted from The View from the Cross: Cycle B Gospel Text Sermons for Lent and Easter (SermonStudio)
As is often the case, John's gospel reports more of the contents of Jesus' instructions to his disciples than do the other three gospels. There are always detractors but it seems that one of the reasons for this was the fact that John is an eyewitness to all that he writes here for the full sermon

Sermon for Good Friday

Sermons on the Gospel Readings: Series II, Cycle BThe Wasted Ointment
Sermon by David T. Ball based on John 18:1--19:42 excerpted from Sermons on the Gospel Readings: Series II, Cycle B (SermonStudio).
Whenever we travel, we come into contact with new people. Often these interactions remain basic and simple, with us exchanging just the bare minimum of information necessary to complete our interaction, like when checking in for a flight. "Good morning, traveling to San Francisco today?" "Yes." "May I see your photo ID?" "Sure." "Any baggage to check?" "Yes, two pieces." "Two pieces." "Yes." "Okay, you're all set.... click here for the rest of the sermon

Commentary for Easter Day
Sandra Herrmann Life eternal transforms us
Commentary by Sandra Herrmann based on Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and John 20:1-18 from Emphasis Preaching Journal
Our scriptures today remind us that Easter is more than a welcoming of spring, and that our Easter message is not centered on burgeoning new life and bunnies, as our popular culture emphasizes. Easter promises us life eternal, which gives us the courage to behave as those first disciples did, bringing the word of God to a world in need of strength. Our prophetic role, in the face of rising nationalism around the world and the denigration of people ďnot like us,Ē is a tough role, requiring people who have an assurance that living out the teachings of Jesus is essential for us to live at peace rather than to exist in here for the full sermon

Children's Sermon for Palm/Passion Sunday

Cynthia CowenIt is True. Jesus Lives!
Children's sermon by Cynthia Cowen based on John 20:1-18 from CSSPlus (Children Sermon Service...Plus).
The Point: The heavy stone was rolled aside to reveal the truth, Jesus lives!
The Lesson: Good morning, boys and girls. Thank you for sharing this time with me.
     Jesus lives! That is the great Easter announcement! Christ has risen! He has risen indeed....
click here for the rest of the children's sermon

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The Immediate Word
Chris Keating
Dean Feldmeyer

Treading the Crimson Trail / No One Gets Out Alive

This week we’re offering a pair of main articles -- one focusing on a Palm Sunday theme, and the other keyed to the Passion narrative (which can also be used for Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday). In his Palm Sunday piece, team member Chris Keating compares Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to the lavish reception celebrities get on the red carpet or political dignitaries receive when they arrive in foreign capitals. But while we might secretly wish that we had that sort of cachet, we are often reminded that a typical byproduct of such treatment is an inflated sense of self-importance. Yet as Chris points out, Jesus is able to stay grounded and ignore the adulation of the crowd -- which he knows is the proverbial mile wide and inch deep. Of course, we know that in a matter of days those who now hail him will turn on him. So in the midst of celebration, Jesus offers us a bracing lesson in the value of humility -- and in the fleeting nature of the world’s plaudits. Even so, we still lust after the approval of others and the perks of worldly success. Chris suggests that we ought to ask ourselves: Can we, like Jesus, remain focused on the cross -- or will we be seduced by the roaring approval of a fickle fanbase?
     In his meditation on the Passion text, team member Dean Feldmeyer considers the manner in which Jesus approaches his impending death. Mark’s gospel reports that Jesus is burdened with many of the same anxieties and concerns that many of us have about our mortality, noting that when he went to Gethsemane with Peter and James and John, “he began to be distressed and agitated.... [H]e threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.” But having accepted the burden of his Father’s will....
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Passion Sunday

As is well known, the text forms the third of the four Servant Songs that are found in the prophecies of Second Isaiah. Some scholars have maintained that the songs are later additions to the material, but rhetorical analysis has revealed that the songs are an integral and indispensable part of Second Isaiah's message. The whole, made up of Isaiah 40--55, was delivered to the Israelite exiles in Babylonia, sometime between 550 and 538 B.C.
     In the prophet's original understanding, the Servant of the Lord here is intended as the corporate figure of Israel, not as Israel presently is, but as the Servant whom the Lord calls Israel to be, Israel as the Lord would transform Israel to be. The Word of God through this prophet summons the exiles to give their lives in faith for the sake of the salvation of the nations. Israel will suffer, but in the end be vindicated by the Lord. (See next Sunday's Old Testament lesson.)
     At the same time, it cannot be denied that this text also reflects some of Second Isaiah's own prophetic experience. He tells us how he receives his message from the Lord. God opens his ears and teaches him his words. The prophet is like a pupil, listening to a beloved teacher morning by morning. And the words that Second Isaiah is given are comforting words for his fellow exiles, words that will sustain Israel in its weary time of captivity to Babylonia, when so many of them have lost all hope (vv. 4--5a)....
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Frank Ramirez

The well-traveled path of suffering

As I write this there have been some high-profile incidents in which Christians have been martyred for their faith on a wholesale basis. Because our collective memories are short, people need to be reminded that this is nothing new. Christians have been martyred for their faith from the beginning. If you are not familiar with The Martyrdom of Polycarp, the story of the seven brothers and their mothers in 2 Maccabees 7, or books like The Martyrís Mirror (or if your congregation is not familiar with these), it might be well to incorporate a few stories at the least. Your denomination or congregation may have a special connection to suffering people in the past or present (for instance, the young women abducted in Nigeria by Boko Haram were almost all members of my denomination), and Holy Week is an appropriate time to remember these....
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C. David McKirachan

They all forsook him...

Mark 14:1-15:47

This whole season is about the faithfulness of our Lord. And itís about our lack of it. The woman who anointed him was judged by our hard heartedness. Weíre cheap. She was grateful. He lived by the spirit of Godís law. The Pharisees used the letter of the law to forsake Godís invitation to be a light to the nations. We squabble about inclusiveness using the label ĎChristianí to mean our unwillingness to go in any direction that makes us uncomfortable, ignoring our Lordís radical nature. He wept over Jerusalem, while we salute the flag of our nationalism. He offered his body and blood as a rock, a reminder of the cost of Godís grace and redemption. We run around in circles, not having the time to pray, study, and preach his good news....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

He emptied himself...

The postman regularly delivers a lot of junk mail to our house, but thoughtfully bundles it together with a rubber band. This means that we gain several thick, strong rubber bands each week. For some unknown and obscure reason, I hate to throw these rubber bands away, so I pack them into a little plastic bank envelope and throw them in a drawer, knowing they'll come in useful one day. When the little plastic envelope is full, I find myself stretching the rubber bands around anything that comes to hand, such as a jam jar....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Cynthia Cowen

Our Hosannas became Alleluias

The Point: Jesus knows our need for a Savior and answers our need with his life.

The Lesson: Good morning, boys and girls. Thank you for joining me as we share the story of Jesus. I brought with me a special banner. It has a Hebrew word on it: "Hosanna." The Jewish people were about to celebrate God delivering his people from slavery in Egypt....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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