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Part 1 Special Occasions as "Grace-Catchers" Chapter 2 What Brings Us Together Today? Chapter 3 How Much of a Voice, and What Kind? Chapter 4 When Is It "High Time"? Part 5 Individuals as Preaching Prisms Chapter 6 Weddings and Funerals: Preaching Grace through Rites of Passage Chapter 7 Baptisms, Ordinations, and Celebrations of New Ministry: Preaching Grace through Christian Vocation Chapter 8 Red Letter Days and Lesser Feasts: Preaching Grace through the Lives of Saints Part 9 Days as Preaching Prisms Chapter 10 Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and the Triduum: Preaching Grace through Liturgies for Holy Days Chapter 11 Christmas and Easter, Epiphany and Pentecost: Preaching Grace through Festival Celebrations Chapter 12 Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, and Days of Recognition: Preaching Grace through Civic Holidays Part 13 Circumstances as Preaching Prisms Chapter 14 Social Crises and Theological Conflicts: Preaching Grace through Troubled Waters Chapter 15 Distinctive Congregations: Preaching Grace Through Special Conditions Chapter 16 Retreats, Preaching Missions, and Liturgical Seasons: Preaching Grace through the Faith Journey Part 17 What Makes an Occasion Special?
DAVID SCHLAFER is an Episcopal priest who has taught preaching at Nashotah House, Seabury-Western, the University of the South, Virginia Theological Seminary, and the College of Preachers. His books include Surviving the Sermon, Your Way with God's Word, and Playing with Fire.Schlafer conducts seminars and workshops on homiletics in the United States, Canada, and England.
In the early pages of this insightful book, David Schlafer meditates on the image of 'sun-catchers,' those little glass prisms that take sunlight coming through a window and separate it into the colors of the spectrum. The function of an 'occasional' sermon, he suggests, is similarly to select and focus the colors 'from the spectrum of God's grace both through and for the particular special occasion,' to be a 'grace-catcher' (19-20)... "Schlafer's analyses and suggestions focus on aspects of sermon preparation that are well within our control, offering approaches to letting those connections happen as well as hints for avoiding pitfalls. He helpfully distinguishes between different types of 'special' days: those that focus on the life of the individual (such as weddings, baptisms, or the life of a saint), those that focus on the day itself (such as Palm Sunday or Thanksgiving), and those that focus on circumstances (such as social crises or the particular situation of a congregation). Within those larger categories, he offers further distinctions between events that are, for instance, primarily theological in nature and those that carry a secular burden as well. The reader will probably get the point of the distinctions rapidly, but the categories are useful for bringing those resonances and shadings up into our consciousness so that we can get hold of them and use them as tools. "... when he reaches the chapters on the church's great holy days, Schlafer really hits his stride. The chunks of sermons he quotes in this section (including a gem of his own for the Great Vigil of Easter) are particularly evocative, and his commentaries on what is needed at these focal points in the Christian year are rich and readable theological reflections. This section could well serve as an overview for a preacher looking ahead to a specific holy day or planning a preaching series for a whole season. "A beginning preacher will do well to read this book from beginning to end, heeding the advice and using the 'inclu -- Linda L. Clader, Professor of homiletics at the Church Divinity School in the Pacific