"900 Words": Initial Reflections of an Emerging Editor
Satterlee, Craig A., Currents in Theology and Mission
I'm spending my Sundays preaching in a congregation that is earnestly hoping that their bishop will give them a pastor for Christmas. Their eyes are peeled for any sign of activity; their ears are attuned for any whisper of news. They hang on for any hint of their future. As I ponder preaching in the Advent and Christmas seasons, I wonder: What could possibly make us that anxious and expectant for the coming of the Christ? A healthy dose of uncertainty, perhaps? How about some honest-to-goodness fretting over the future? Or maybe what we need is some overwhelming good news!
Here it is! To a world in which peace seems to be slipping, to a nation in which unemployment is on the rise, to congregations who know in their hearts that, if they keep on being who they are, they will someday cease to be, to pastors who are just plain tired, to people sick and shunned, oppressed and afraid, Christ comes! Christ comes as a babe so that God knows what it is to be human. Christ comes in Word and Sacrament so that we know how much we are loved. Christ comes in glory to make all creation whole and safe. All around us we find uncertainty and fretting. When we spend prayerful time with the readings, the good news of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany leaves us overwhelmed. Perhaps that's how we might spend some time this fall as we prepare ourselves to prepare God's people. Two fine contributors bring purpose to our prayers and offer counsel as we contemplate.
Glenn Monson is Pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Austin, Minnesota. A second-career pastor, Glenn played trombone professionally for more than fifteen years before beginning his studies at Luther Seminary. I came to know Glenn through his work in the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program, of which he is a recent graduate. In the course of his doctoral work, Glenn explored new forms of preaching, on one occasion effectively bringing his horn into the pulpit, and revealed new insights into the essential role that our listeners play in creating meaning in the preaching event. Glenn is married to Ruth and the father of Abby and Catherine. Glenn will be guiding us through Advent.
For Christmas and Epiphany, we accompany Aaron Couch, co-pastor at First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon. Aaron describes himself as a father, a husband, and a pastor. I knew Aaron in seminary and am delighted to come to know him again through one of my teaching partners, Melinda Wagner, who is Aaron's spouse and co-pastor at First Immanuel. Before attending Trinity Seminary, Aaron studied ancient Semitic language and literature, gifts he ably shares with us.
As I complete my first attempt at editing Preaching Helps, I find myself joyously fretting over my own uncertainties. …