Lectionary Levity

The Use of Humor in Preaching

Ian S. Markham and Samantha R. E. Gottlich, Illustrated by Jay Sidebotham

Oct/2017, 304 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819233578



  • Addresses all 156 Gospel readings in the 3-year lectionary cycle
  • Provides basic exegetical summary and then concludes with humorous story or joke

Spanning all 3 years of the lectionary cycle, this book provides a welcome tool for the renewal of preaching from the gospel readings. In a concise, uniform, and simple format, the authors provide a thematic summary of the gospel, list several possible points for preaching, and offer a humorous story for the week that illumines the deeper meaning of the biblical text.

Lectionary Levity also functions as a practical manual on how to use humor in preaching and allows the reader to view the gospel in a different light so as to enliven the worship experience.

A treasure trove of biblical insights, homiletical helps, and just good humor!

Audience: Clergy wanting new angles into preaching the gospel readings, laity desiring fresh insights into familiar texts


Read an excerpt

Ian S. Markham, is Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary. He has held positions at institutions of higher learning in both the United States and the United Kingdom, including the University of Exeter, from which he received his doctoral degree. He also holds a Master of Letters in Philosophy and Ethics from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Divinity in Theology from the University of London. Markham serves as priest associate at St. Paul’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia, and is married to Lesley Markham; they have one son, Luke.

Samantha Gottlich is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and active in ordained ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. She is the coauthor of Faith Rules: An Episcopal Manual.

"What a fresh tool to add to the preacher's toolbox. For all the seriousness with which we Christians take our faith and worship, Christian faith is at heart a divine comedy in which our lives ultimately rest in the hands of a loving God."
— The Rev. Dr. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Rector, Trinity Church, Boston, Retired

"Good sermons use humor to catch the congregation's attention and make a profound point. . . . With this wise and whimsical guide to the lectionary at their side, no preacher need ever preach a humorless sermon again."
— Jane Shaw, Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University

"Lectionary Levity may sound like an oxymoron. To suggest that humor, as found in Jesus's words and teaching, belongs to God's own self and therefore has its place in the pulpit may seem irreverent to some. Ian Markham, however, makes a strong case for the use of humor in preaching. Laughter and a well-chosen and skillfully told joke in the course of a sermon can be revelatory."
— Frank T. Griswold, 25th Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church

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  • Humor
  • Preaching

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