Two San Francisco Theological Seminary faculty members have contributed to a new resource designed to help preachers reflect theologically and ethically on the social implications of the biblical readings in the Revised Common Lectionary.
Rev. Dr. James McDonald, the new SFTS President and Professor of Faith and Public Life, and Rev. Dr. James Noel, the H. Eugene Farlough, Jr. Professor of African American Christianity, are among the 90 authors who contributed to Preaching God’s Transforming Justice.
The new book provides commentary for each day in the lectionary calendar and introduces 22 Holy Days for Justice. These 22 days are intended to enlarge the church's awareness of God's call for justice in today’s world.
“These brand new Holy Days for Justice could be a major addition to the church's life,” said Ronald J. Allen, an editor of the new commentary. “While the book shows how biblical texts expose injustice in many arenas of life today, the major emphasis is on how conversation with these texts can strengthen congregations in witness and mission.”
The new days include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Earth Day, World AIDS Day, International Women's Day and Cesar Chavez Day.
McDonald, who comes to SFTS after 13 years with Bread for the World, wrote on World Food Day, one of the new Holy Days for Justice. McDonald calls attention to the extent of world hunger and to the fact that ending hunger is sacred work. He identifies both the causes and solutions to world hunger in broader social-systemic contexts.
Noel draws on his signature work in the arts, especially from the African American community, to illumine texts through visual images and musical expressions. He focuses especially on themes from the Babylonian exile, the experience of crying and lamentation, and on Jesus' role as prophet and priest. Noel suggests a provocative theme for the sermon: "Someone's Crying Lord. When Are You Coming?"
Noel preaches at New Liberation Presbyterian Church in San Francisco and regularly includes social justice issues in his sermons. To hear Noel preach, click here: http://www.sfts.edu/faculty/noel/sermons/index.asp
For each of the lectionary days and Holy Days for Justice in the commentary, there is an essay that helps preachers integrate a variety of social justice concerns (on issues of race, class, gender, violence and the environment) into their preaching. The contributors are a diverse group of preachers, pastors, biblical scholars, theologians and social activists.
Allen, Professor of Preaching and New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary, said Preaching God’s Transforming Justice has potential to empower congregations to witness for justice. Allen hopes that preachers and congregations will use the new commentary to change their communities and the world.
Preaching God’s Transforming Justice is 544 pages and retails for $50. It was published by Westminster John Knox Press.