First Impressions is a lectionary commentary based around the Revised Common Lectionary.
It is not an exhaustive commentary on the gospel passages. It is based around my first meeting with the text set for reading in churches each week. Usually I am reading the text with one of the congregations for whom I preach in mind. Often I am also thinking about my own struggles in life. I try and relate the text today, especially today in Australia, where I live.
First Impressions happen before we have time to rationalise and explain away. When First Impressions first began, we had a little introduction which said in part:
...Slowly, I am learning to pay attention to my first impressions. There is always more to consider, and insight to seek, but often my first impression tells me a surprising amount about a passage of scripture- or about myself! It makes sense. If I am being re-formed by my life in the church, surely my instincts count for something, and have themselves also been a little reformed...
We have a grand tradition in the church, with centuries of insights. But this is no unchanging body of knowledge that is “right.” Reading scripture is about reading ourselves! We change, and grow. And so does the world in which we live. The bible says different things to different situations.
The theologian Karl Barth said something like "...take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible."
By the time I begin on my sermon, I hope I have read not only the newspaper, but myself, and my congregation. The First Impressions are the beginning of the process. I hope they are helpful for you.
Added to these First Impressions, you will sometimes find the sermon for the week as well. Usually you can see the relationship with the First Impressions article.
First Impressions began as part of the churchrewired project at Scots Church Adelaide. The good folk there actually paid me to write! Although that project is not continuing I am trying to maintain the commentary.
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