Lawrence M. Stratton is assistant professor of ethics and constitutional law at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, and director of the universityâ€™s Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership.
Sometimes when I set out to preach from the Revised Common Lectionary I feel like calling someone from the Consultation on Common Texts to get the scoop on why the group settled on a particular set of pericopes. This week, Isaiahâ€™s marriage metaphor and Jesusâ€™ miraculous transformation of water into wedding wine are an obvious match. The rationale for including 1 Corinthians 12:1-11â€™s discussion of spiritual gifts is less clear.
In a famous 1970s television commercial, legendary movie actor and director Orson Welles held up a glass of wine. While Beethovenâ€™s Fifth Symphony played in the background, Welles declared in his deep bass voice, speaking on behalf of a winemaker: â€śWe will sell no wine before its time.â€ť
Until now I never appreciated the beautiful message of this weekâ€™s Old Testament passage. Godâ€™s promises to Israelâ€”to not be drowned by water or burned by fireâ€”make this text almost as comforting to its readers as the 23rd psalm.
I was ordained last February, and since then Iâ€™ve been invited to preach at more than a dozen churches as a supply preacher. Itâ€™s always an adventure to pack up my ministerâ€™s gown and stole and drive to a new church. Last summer I found myself preaching at the opening worship service for a local fair.
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