August 9, 2015
John 6:35, 41-51
Ephesians 4:25--5:2
2 Sam 18:5-9, 15, 31-33


Shattered dreams and reviving hopes
Proper 14 | OT 19

Go to the full commentary
More commentaries from the archives

New illustrations
More illustrations from the archives


Wayne Brouwer
A Jewish boy in Europe grew up with a profound sense of admiration for his father. His father was very religious. The family went to services at the synagogue each week. They practiced Jewish acts of devotion in their home, and his father took a leadership role in the Jewish religious community.

Then they moved to a new town. There most of the leading businessmen belonged to the local Lutheran church. So one day the father announced to the family that they were all going to abandon their Jewish traditions and be baptized as members of the Lutheran church.

The boy was stunned. “Why?” he asked his dad. “Why would we do something like that?”

His father shattered him with the answer. It had nothing to do with spiritual convictions. It wasn’t a sudden inspiration from God or even a sense of disappointment with the Jewish faith. His father told him that it would be good for business. That’s why they would become Christians.

The boy never recovered from the tremendous doubts that shook him that day, or the intense bitterness he felt over his father’s sudden declarations. When he left home he went to England to study. There, at the British Museum, he read and thought and wrote. Eventually he published a book that described religion as the “opiate of the masses.” Everything in life, he wrote, ultimately came down to economics. The bottom line is money. The title on his manuscript said it all: Das Kapital.

The boy’s name, of course, was Karl Marx. Today we know him as the man who developed modern atheistic communism. And it all started with his father.

Shattered dreams lie at the heart of the father-son Old Testament reading for today as well. Only in this instance it is the son who shattered the heart of the father. But our New Testament and gospel readings bring reviving dreams that energize, like the best of relations between parents and children.

In a particularly insightful Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown is talking to his pal Linus, leaning on a brick fence and describing his relationship with his dad. “My dad likes me to come down to the barbershop and wait for him,” he says. “No matter how busy he is, even if the shop is full of customers, he always stops and says ‘Hi!’ to me. I sit here on the bench until six o’clock, when he’s through, and then we ride home together.”

The next frame shows Charlie Brown deep in thought, and then in the final scene he shows a bright face and says, “It really doesn’t take much to make my dad happy!”

The same might be said for our heavenly Father, as both Jesus and Paul note in today’s passages. God’s love for us energizes our behavior like sumptuous food and model behavior....

Go to the full commentary
More commentaries from the archives

New illustrations
More illustrations from the archives

What is Emphasis Online?

Emphasis Online provides in-depth lectionary-based commentary on lectionary texts, plus thousands of sermon illustrations to help you create riveting sermons.

For over 35 years, Emphasis has provided subscribers with scripturally sound, Lectionary-based commentaries and sermon illustrations that really connect with the people in the pews.

For each Sunday, Emphasis writers and editors delve into the heart of the four lectionary readings, providing you with several fresh, solid ideas -- based squarely on the lectionary texts -- for creating sermons that speak powerfully to your audience. The team looks for overall themes that hold the readings together. Then, they zero in on the themes and the specific scripture links, suggesting directions for the sermon and worship service. Since a single idea each week may not provide what you are looking for at that particular time, Emphasis suggests several, giving you the opportunity to select the one that matches your specific needs.

Emphasis is like having a dedicated, thoroughly-versed sermon research and sermon resource team right in your own study to help you create riveting sermons that are truly yours, and that speak powerfully to your audience.

Easy-to-Use Format
Emphasis Online brings to the web the high quality content you have come to expect from Emphasis in an intuitive and easy-to-use format. No longer will you have to wait for postal delivery of your printed copy of Emphasis; just log-on to Emphasis Online and you can view the complete current issue as soon as it is published.

Archives
Emphasis Online gives you even greater value by putting back issues of the journal at your fingertips. This access to the Emphasis Archives, combined with powerful search features, takes the utility of Emphasis to an entirely new level. You can search the current issue, or the complete archives, for content from Charting the Course (commentaries) or the sermon illustrations, by lectionary, scripture reference, or keyword to find exactly what you need.

Become more Productive
Emphasis Online will add time to your day by helping you make more productive use of the time you spend on preparing your weekly sermon and worship service. Instead of locating and leafing through myriad of sermon resources in a time-consuming quest for relevant sermon material, you can now spend your valuable time crafting your own presentation.

>> Subscribe to Emphasis Online
This Week
August 9, 2015
Proper 14 | OT 19
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
Looking Ahead
August 16, 2015
Proper 15 | OT 20
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
August 23, 2015
Proper 16 | OT 21
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
August 30, 2015
Proper 17 | OT 22
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives

Recent Installments
August 2, 2015
Proper 13 | OT 18
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
July 26, 2015
Proper 12 | OT 17
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
July 19, 2015
Proper 11 | OT 16
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
July 12, 2015
Proper 10 | OT 15
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
July 5, 2015
Proper 9 | OT 14
Commentary | Archives
Illustrations | Archives
Commentary
Writers



David Kalas


Wayne Brouwer


Sandra Herrmann


David Coffin


Catherine Venkatesh


Frank Ramirez


Illustration
Writers



Mark Ellingsen


Ron Love


Bob Ove


Frank Ramirez


Bonnie Bates


Bill Thomas