Proclamation and Celebration focuses homiletically on the six principal festivals of the church year: Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and Holy Trinity. Central to the complicated development of lectionaries over the centuries, these festivals have anchored the church year, primarily because they are specifically enunciated in biblical materials.
Susan Hedahl argues for the importance of viewing these festivals both as a unit and individually from a doctrinal perspective in light of the dynamic and theological expressions of God’s lively relationship with humanity. Exploring the possibilities in the biblical narratives that ground each festival, Hedahl helps the preacher create sermons that find joyous resonance in the liturgical, spiritual, ecumenical, theological, cultural, and educational activities of congregational life.
After an initial introduction to the festivals as a group, six chapters address each specific festival, describing the history, biblical texts, doctrines, cultural issues, and possibilities attendant on the festival. Throughout the book, Hedahl uses sermon excerpts by many preachers to illustrate strategies, choosing materials from a wide range of times, styles, and cultures.
By providing an engaging, accessible introduction to Christianity’s major festivals, Susan Hedahl invites preachers to mine the riches of festival proclamation in ways that celebrate the wonder, mystery, and grace of God. Here we encounter fresh possibilities for transformative preaching that are deeply rooted in Christian tradition. Every preacher who values the lectionary should read this book.
—Phil Snider, senior minister, Brentwood Christian Church, Springfield, Missouri
How can it be that preachers think they have nothing to add to the glorious good news at Christmas and Easter? Susan Hedahl challenges and encourages us to reflect upon the dramatic, lively doctrines that shape and inform our proclamations at the six major festivals of the church year. A return to doctrinal preaching will teach, will connect us with the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, and will invite choice and action, not just ‘aesthetic appreciation.’ Hedahl’s approach will add depth and radical faith to festival sermons.
—Lucy Hogan, Hugh Latimer Elderice Professor of Preaching and Worship, Wesley Theological Seminary
Susan K. Hedahl, now retired, was the Herman G. Stuempfle Chair of Proclamation of the Word at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, where she had served since 1992. Ordained in the ELCA, she holds degrees from Luther Theological Seminary, St. John’s School of Theology in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Her books include Listening Ministry and Who Do You Say That I Am? Preaching in the Twenty-First Century.