"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven" - Jesus

One lesson that we are learning with great difficulty during this time of self-quarantine is that we have the power within us to forgive each other. We can no longer avoid our spouse or children after we quarrel. We must intentionally restore community within our home…

For: 
May 31, 2020
John 20:19-23
Acts 2:1-21
Pentecost Sunday

In my novel, “Martha Finds Rest,” I retell the story of the first Easter. When I get to the part where Jesus visits the upper room in John chapter 20, my novel dramatizes the events, utilizing the viewpoint of a spying twelve-year old.

[As they waited they] devoted themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus -Acts 1:14

What has our experience with the coronavirus been about? It’s been about waiting. In Acts 1:4, Jesus tells the disciples to wait. We will never be effective at anything in our lives unless we learn to wait.  

For: 
May 24, 2020
Acts 1:1-14
Easter 7
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God's will, than to suffer for doing evil. - 1 Peter 3:17

Social distancing. Wearing masks. Having our workplaces and stores shut down. All of this involves suffering to do the right thing.

For: 
May 17, 2020
1 Peter 3:13-22
Easter 6
"In my father’s house there are many mansions" - Jesus

In this time of social distancing, we worry about whether we will be able to stay sane. Our world has become too limited for us. Yet in our spiritual house, there are many mansions.

For: 
May 10, 2020
John 14:1-14
Easter 5
"Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple..." - Acts 2:46

The second chapter of acts describes the golden era of Christianity. But the most important thing we learn from reading Acts is that such things don't last. A golden age can end in two ways; either God says you're ready and sends the church out to transform the world. Or a golden age can end in nostalgia, apathy, and the failure to adapt.

For: 
May 3, 2020
Acts 2:42-47
Easter 4
"Live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear…" I Peter 1:17

The coronavirus is teaching us to be mindful of the invisible.  Even as we worship online, we are members of the Church triumphant. Along with myriads of angels and saints only seen by our imagination, we commune in the family of God.

For: 
April 26, 2020
1 Peter 1:17-23
Easter 3
"When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of..."

Thomas wasn’t there. Where was he? The Easter story in John chapter 20 tells about a man refuses to join with the other disciples in an online video-chat with Jesus. How do you like doing Zoom? There’s always someone who shows up muted or with their video turned off. Others simply opt out. This Easter on Zoom, my extroverted brother-in-law was in the shadows, occasionally disappeared, and never spoke. Like Thomas, he isn’t adjusting well to the new reality. We can see and hear, but not touch.

For: 
April 19, 2020
John 20:19-31
Easter 2
Near where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb...

Liminal spaces form mental thresholds. They are neither here nor there. So too, the tomb where Jesus was buried. Grief ushers us into these liminal spaces. Its purpose is to enable to let go of what we must leave behind.

For: 
April 12, 2020
John 19:38-20:18
Easter
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road...

We enter Holy Week, aware that this is global pandemic. Those who die in Italy, Iran, and Wuhan are no longer foreigners to us.  We remember the crowds and know that we are all in this together. No one is isolated from the compassion of Jesus.

For: 
April 5, 2020
Matthew 21:1-11
Lent 6
Palm Sunday
"Now a certain man was ill..." - John 11:1

I had made plans to fly out West to see my elderly mother and recently hospitalized brother this Sunday. Then the virus put us all in limbo. My concerns for their health and safety heightened with each news report. The bad fall my brother had taken at the end of February broke ribs and damaged his lungs. The verse, “And Jesus wept,” resonates with me. In this time of travel restrictions, I am thinking that Jesus had been weeping for many days.

For: 
March 29, 2020
John 11:1-35
Lent 5
"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."-Jesus

If we learn the lesson of compassion, the coronavirus will reveal to us the glory of God. This disruption to our normal lives, has brought us to the place where we can encounter Jesus anew. Once we know we are blind, the sight-giver will come. 

For: 
March 22, 2020
John 9:1-41
Lent 4
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."

Social distancing has long been practiced in religious communities. If there is anything that the last three years has taught us, it is how to think like one of Jesus’ disciples before he died on the cross for the world. Fearing others brings out the worst in us.

For: 
March 15, 2020
John 4:5-42
Lent 3
'You must be born from above." - Jesus to Nicodemus

Most of us are never told that we can set out from the known and the familiar to take on a further journey. To be, as Jesus puts it, born again.

For: 
March 8, 2020
John 3:1-17
Lent 2

In the spiritual world there is no doubt, all are loved. In this world, however, we toil under constantly changing conditions. Sometimes we are accepted. Sometimes we are scorned. We learn in time to doubt ourselves.

For: 
March 1, 2020
Matthew 4:1-11
Lent 1

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