Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Matthew and the Advent Season

Many of my friends know that I am not a great fan of the theology of (what one of their disciples winkingly calls) the Gnesio-Lutherans at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul. Nevertheless, I try to keep an open mind and heart, especially with respect to my fellow-travelers in the tradition of Martin Luther. So in that spirit, let me pass on a very nice and helpful guide to the Advent lections assigned for Year A in the Revised Common Lectionary. They are penned by that pillar of the Luther Gnesio-Lutherans, Jim Nestingen, and appeared in Luther Seminary's journal, Word and World, a long time ago (1992).

Any preacher can read Nistingen's analysis to his or her benefit, and any sermon-hearer can benefit from the preparation for the season, too. One snippet to whet your appetite:

[With respect to Mt. 3:1-12, Advent III:] Repentance is a correlate of freedom. The tearing away that takes places in detachment is only possible because a deeper, more powerful and superior attachment has come: the attachment of faith, the grip of the kingdom. ... Jesus' repentance is a reflex of the gospel, a detachment that is the result of his attachment to us in grace. (pp. 409, 410)

To which I can only say, "Amen." Follow the link; it's a good article -- and a sermon in its own right (as all good theology is!).

And my thanks to Paul, my brother in the faith, who insists on trying to make me eat every word in which I contradict or criticize his mentors -- with more or less success, I note!

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