“Words of Wisdom”
When Christians gather for worship Sunday-by-Sunday, we come expecting many different things. Whether in-person or online, we anticipate music and prayers. We know that we will read from the Bible, God’s Word to us. We will consider what God is saying to us in our time, and we will respond in a variety of ways to what we have heard.
Presbyterians and Christians that belong to the Reformed family of churches may not expect the services always to include sacraments like the Communion we shared last Sunday, but you do expect a significant sermon. That may be one of the reasons why many of you have hung on during times of online services only. Because even if we can’t see each other, or hug one another, or share food together, at least you can still hear the sermon. And you hope that the minister will say something worth your time and attention in listening.
I gave this morning’s sermon the title “Words of Wisdom” – not because I was over-confident that I would have some words of wisdom for you today, but because our first reading is from Proverbs chapter one, one of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures … Read more »
“Teaching: A Cross and a Gift”
When I am teaching about the Bible, I often point out that the Bible is not just one book, but it is a collection of books. Remember your French, I tell the children. What is the French word for library? (Bibliotheque) Right, the Bible is a “bibliotheque” a whole library of different types of books.
There are history books, and poetry, and collections of letters, and genealogical record books. There are mythic stories, and hymn books, and rule books. Just like a library, the Bible is a collection of books by different authors who lived and wrote in different times and places, but all inspired in a spectacular way by the One God in whom they believed and whom they followed.
This morning’s Scripture passages are the ones assigned in the Revised Common Lectionary of readings for this Sunday, and the Old Testament readings in particular are a celebration of the Bible – of the Word of God that guides, encourages, and corrects us in our living day-by-day. The first reading comes from the Book of Proverbs, one of the Wisdom Books of the Bible, and a collection of short, pithy sayings and … Read more »
Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie
The idea of doing a preaching series on the Book of Proverbs came from the Christian Education Committee. It wasn’t my idea, and I probably wouldn’t have come up with it on my own. I’ve only preached from the Book of Proverbs a few times before, mostly from the final chapter – Proverbs 31 – about the wise and capable woman. You may not remember, but I actually preached on that text thirteen years ago (the first time I stood in this pulpit) when I preached for the call to St. Andrew’s.
But most of the Book of Proverbs is made up of these short little sayings. If you read through some sections, you’ll notice that they’re often not even organized thematically. They’re just collections of wise sayings… interesting, but rather difficult for preaching.
And then there is the added challenge that some of them are kind of weird… Like this one: “Those who keep the law are wise children, but companions of gluttons shame their parents.” (Pr. 28:7) Or this one: “The lazy person says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!’” (Pr. 22:13) Or … Read more »
Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie
As you know, the bible contains many different types of literature within its many books. And the book of Proverbs is part of the type of biblical material called “wisdom literature”. It is an amazing book full of wise sayings and advice for many people in many situations. And it begins with an image of wisdom personified.
Wisdom is out in the street, in the squares where all the people are passing by, and she’s shouting. Woman Wisdom has chosen the busiest corner at the entrance of the city gates, and she is calling “How long, O simple ones? How long will you love being simple? How long will you hate knowledge? I have called to you, and made my words known to you. I have offered to share my wisdom with you, and you have ignored me.” Wisdom is sick and tired of being ignored, and she seems to be giving up on the people who don’t have any use for her. “It’ll serve you right!” becomes her message. If you ignore wisdom, things won’t go well for you, and you’ll have to deal with it all on your … Read more »