"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor..." - Jesus & Isaiah

We both envy and hate the people who leave town and make it big. Bob Dylan hasn’t been back to Hibbing, Minnesota other than for his tenth high school reunion, where he got into a fight at the local Moose lodge.

For: 
January 23, 2022
Luke 4:14-21
Isaiah 61
Epiphany 3
Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee - John 2:11

Mary wants there to be wine. Jesus is at the beginning of a ministry that will lead him to the cross. He will, at the end of that painful road, bring to us the new wine of eternal life and the Holy Spirit.

For: 
January 16, 2022
John 2:1-11
Epiphany 2
…all the people were baptized …Jesus also had been baptized and was praying

People gathered each day to be baptized by John for the repentance of their sins and to prepare them for the Kingdom of God. And in this crowd of people just like us, Luke gives us Jesus.

For: 
January 9, 2022
Luke 3:15-22
Epiphany 1
At the final accounting, the king "will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left." - Jesus' parable

The only way to credit your spiritual account is to show compassion to strangers, that is, the people who are unable to pay you back. You tally up losses every time you ignore an opportunity to do good in this world.

For: 
January 2, 2022
Matthew 25:31-46

During the holidays, we all tend to complain about our family obligations. The truth is, it’s not that we have too much at Christmas that takes us away from our routines, it’s that we have too little

For: 
December 27, 2015
Luke 2:41-52
Christmas 1

This is the first of a fourteen day blog covering my experience with COVID-19. Since my affliction has arrived just in time to mess up Christmas, I am calling this set of blogs, "14 Days of COVID" 

 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice

This Christmas learn to rejoice, not because things are going well, but because Jesus is near. He promises to be near as we face difficulty. He is also near in terms of his coming kingdom. 

For: 
December 12, 2021
Philippians 4:4-7
Isaiah 9:2
Advent 3
Remember those in Prison
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.

How is Jesus like a refiner's fire or the fuller's wash-tub? In my own life Jesus appears as the refiner's fire when my problems and misdeeds have become too great for me to ignore. It is like what they say at AA, "I've come to believe that it will take a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity." That's when Malachi's Jesus becomes good news.

For: 
December 5, 2021
Malachi 3:1-4
Advent 2
The voice of one crying out in the wilderness - how John the Baptist is described

The voice in the wilderness did not ask people to put their faith in him, nor did he expect them to double down. He called them to repent before God, and then return to their lives with the hope of being better people. Religion ought to be about seeking God, seeking to know ourselves, and seeking to  be more compassionate.

For: 
November 28, 2021
Luke 3:1-20
Advent 1
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.

How do you say something thankful when asked at Thanksgiving? The clever child will use past memory to their current advantage. “I am thankful that I got a drumstick last year."

For: 
November 21, 2021
Psalm 126
Pentecost 26
Thanksgiving
"My heart exults in the LORD..." Line in common between Mary and Hannah's song

Hannah and Mary are women, living in what we would consider oppressive times. They are both unfairly treated. They both view their unexpected pregnancy as a sign from God, or perhaps even a rebuke of the men around them. Mary may have heard Hannah’s song being read and nodded at certain themes that are common to all women who find themselves judged on account of their body and reproductive experience. 

For: 
November 14, 2021
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Luke 1:46
Pentecost 25
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

We all think it is important to do important things. Most of us can remember some big thing in our lives that took all of our attention and made us anxious for night after night. I have the first half of Psalm 127 memorized (Unless the Lord builds the house...). It dogs me in those periods of my life when I have such great plans that I bulldozer things to the edge of hubris.  

For: 
November 7, 2021
Psalm 127
Pentecost 24
"The hand of the LORD has turned against me."- Naomi

The only way to explain Ruth’s behavior is to suppose that both God’s prevenient grace led her to believe that Moab was not her true home. She came to realize that there was a bigger plan for her life and a greater spiritual force for good in the world than the gods she knew of in Moab. 

For: 
October 31, 2021
Ruth 1:1-18
Pentecost 26
"Now my eyes have seen you." Job speaking of the God he found in solitude.

The God that we seek, is hard to find amidst the noise of public worship. The almighty doesn’t suddenly appear when we get alone, either. Spiritual seeking takes time. We must first accept the silence.

For: 
October 24, 2021
Psalm 27
Job 42
Pentecost 22
“Can you drink the cup I drink?" Jesus asks, referring to his crucifixion

Who is the best? James and John wanted to know. They asked their question at a most inconvenient time. So, Jesus gave them back an inconvenient question.

For: 
October 17, 2021
Mark 10:35-45
Pentecost 24

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