emergency homiletic

I just finished reading Karl Barth's Emergency Homiletic, 1932-1933: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich by Angela Dienhart Hancock. A very interesting, careful study of the homiletics class that Barth taught in the midst of a chaotic year in Germany for the nation and for the church. Lots here for students of preaching and of history to engage. The class itself was an act of resistance with Barth stepping onto the homiletical turf of his colleague whose sympathies lay with the rise of National Socialism and Hitler. Hancock points out the significant inadequacies in the published version of the student notes from these classes ("Homiletics") with the appendix pleading for a new text of that book. Of the student notes from Barth's preaching class, Hancock writes:


so we do not lose heart

A sermon preached at the Memorial Service of Helen Louise (Jerry) Mackenzie

Psalm 139; II Corinthians 4:7-12,16-18

It is hard to know what to say. Jerry Mackenzie has been a part of this neighbourhood and this congregation’s life for sixty-three of her one hundred years. What do you say? Do you try to summarize all that she has done and been in a few short paragraphs? It is not possible. And what scripture should we read? Perhaps she left a note, an instruction, a suggestion. But, no, instead Jerry simply said: “Ed will know what to say.” I will? On such occasions I feel utterly inadequate. Thank God for the lectionary which teaches us the song to sing today - namely Psalm 139.



Jeremiah 2:4-13

“Hear the word of the LORD.” This is Jeremiah’s cry, Jeremiah’s offer. It is the radical claim that the voice and purposes of God can actually be heard by mere mortals. Not just heard, but received in the heart, mind and soul. It is a claim that is at the heart of our life together. The church lives out of the daring assertion that it has been together by the LORD who speaks us into life. It is a word addressed to “the house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel”. It is a word spoken to the descendants of Jacob who have received the blessed name “Israel.” It means “the ones who wrestle with God.” So we will not be surprised when the word from the LORD is not a soft, sweet, saccharine spirituality.