On October 26, 2016, twelve pastors and seminarians gathered at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary to consider and discuss their preaching on the topic of Blessed: Preaching "Israel" as Ancient Symbol and Contemporary Reality, based on the March 12, 2017 Reformed Lectionary texts for the 2nd Sunday in Lent; Genesis 12.1-4a & John 3.1-17. Their goal was to understand and challenge ways of reading scripture and practicing faith which privilege one group, and set apart their relationship to God as superior. It is also language which sits at the theological heart of the Israel / Palestine conflict.
Exceptionalism —the view that a particular nation or people are a special privileged agent of God— fuels, justifies, and perpetuates injustice. Our times cry out for courageous preaching firmly rooted in love and justice that will challenge exceptionalism.
Prize winners for Lent 2017
TEXT: Genesis 12:1–4a
The seminar participants prepared a sermon on the lectionary passages for the 3rd Sunday in Epiphany, preached it in their congregational settings, and wrote a reflection paper on the experience of preparing and preaching the sermon, as well as the congregational feedback they received.
The prize-winning sermons are linked above.