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The Posture of grace

This beautifully designed volume presents a collection of 22 sermons, delivered by Christian Reformed Church Pastor Herm Van Niejenhuis during his 37-year-career serving congregations in Lethbridge (Alberta), Kingston (Ontario), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan),  Willowdale (Ontario), and Sioux Centre (Iowa). 

Pastor Herm Van Niejenhuis.

Who would dare to publish and expect to sell a collection of sermons in 2022, you might ask? The answer to that obvious question shows up on the title pages, where Van Niejenhuis is described as “a much beloved pastor at Covenant CRC Sioux Center, IA” by the volume editors James C. Schaap and Mary Dengler. The answer continues in the dedication, “With gratitude to the congregations that helped make me a pastor/preacher, and to my ‘chief botherer,’ James C. Schaap, without whom this collection would never have gotten off the ground.”

The volume title is taken from the first sermon in this collection, telling the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery and brought to Jesus for judgment, from the Gospel of John 8: 2- 12. Pastor Herm remarks that this is a favourite story for him, one that he had carried within him for some 20 years before preaching on it one evening in 2005 to a Sioux Centre congregation. His message focused on the posture which Christ took when confronted by the accused and the accusers. Instead of rising from his teaching seat to pronounce judgment as expected, he goes down, to the place where the accused woman was looking, in effect, joining the accused as He writes in the dirt. 

A Lenten series titled “Someone’s Crying, Lord” touched hearts so deeply in an Iowa congregation that it was preached again to the Willowdale congregation in Toronto. A sermon titled “What’s Right with the Church” preached at an evening service attended by a few hundred College students in 2004, addresses the skepticism of the millennial generation. A sermon on Proverbs 31, The Wife of Noble Character poem, must have had listeners laughing heartily before settling into the wonderful meditation on the Lord of Wisdom in its closing moments. And a funeral sermon for Dr. Russell Maatman deeply  demonstrates a pastor’s love for a departed parishioner, and the sure hope of new life for every believer.

For readers who still keep a physical library at home, there will be no problem finding a place for this volume. It will be right at home in the poetry section.

Author

  • Ron Rupke

    Ron Rupke retired from paid employment in late 2016 after more than 4 decades working in journalism. Christian labour relations, commercial landscaping and crop farming. With Margaret the wife of his youth, he now lives in Presqu'Ile Provincial Park on the shore of Lake Ontario where he serves as a neighbourhood handyman and volunteer, reads the great books, enjoys the great outdoors, and catches glimpses of the new heaven and the new earth.

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