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Preaching and the Theological Imagination


Edited By Zachary Guiliano and Cameron Partridge

In an era in which The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become increasingly alarmed about numerical decline, Christian proclamation has become more important than ever. To fully meet this challenge, Anglicans must reclaim a vocation to preach the good news with both deep theological grounding and imaginative dynamism. Crucial to this process is a sustained engagement with deepening the theological imagination of the whole Christian community, through renewed practices of, and approaches to, preaching, study, and spiritual development.
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3. Preaching on the Hinges of the Holy: Toward a Homiletic Theology of the Christian Liturgical Year


Cameron E. Partridge

EACH YEAR as the season of Epiphany draws to a close, I look forward to preaching on one of my favorite days in the liturgical year: Transfiguration Sunday.1 On this day, the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) offers the strange story of Jesus’ mountaintop converse with Moses and Elijah, paired with Pauline language of transformation and Hebrew Bible stories of Moses’ glowing face or Elijah’s fiery ascent. Linking as it does the liturgical cycles of Incarnation and Pascha, the placement of Transfiguration Sunday on the border between Epiphany and Lent does several things at once.2 The day enacts liturgically its biblical function as “gateway to the saving events of the gospel,” to serve as a “mirror in which the Christian mystery is seen in its unity.”3 It also brings the entire season of Epiphany to its fulfillment, as several features of the Gospels’ Transfiguration accounts echo those of the baptism of Jesus, which congregations will have marked at the season’s start.4 As the preacher takes up ← 59 | 60 → the biblical texts within this liturgical context, s/he has an opportunity to intensify this linkage, to illumine the connection between this holy threshold and the community’s ongoing growth into the full stature of Christ.5

Transfiguration Sunday is one of the most dramatic examples of what I am terming “hinge days” in the Christian liturgical year: days that mark the borders or hinges between its seasons, transitions within the wider “calendrical narrative,” into which...

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