When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me?

When Jesus says that all the commandments hang upon loving God and our neighbor, I am reminded that both male and female were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that my closest neighbors are women. The story of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 29:15-28) demonstrates the inhumanity of blindly following the two ancient principles listed above while rejecting Jesus’ call to compassion.

For: 
July 26, 2020
Genesis 29:15-28
Pentecost 8
Surely the LORD is in this place--and I did not know it! - Jacob

No place is God-forsaken. When we feel far from any spiritual support for our new adventure, God is there. Angels descending around us, we just don’t see them.

For: 
July 19, 2020
Genesis 28:10-19
Pentecost 7
Listen! A sower went out to sow... - Jesus

We are now in the midst of summer and a pandemic. The very atmosphere seems to be saying, “take your time. Breathe slowly. Wear a mask. Stay at home. Read a book.” This should be good for our souls. But, it's not.

For: 
July 12, 2020
Matthew 13:1-9
Pentecost 6
We played the flute for you, and you did not dance... - Jesus

As we adapt to our personal misfortunes, we ought to gain wisdom to respond to the misfortunes of others. Our first response to a crisis may be to say, “why is this happening to me?” Religion offers another response: What can I learn?

For: 
July 5, 2020
Matthew 11:16-19
Pentecost 5

I once had a church member tell me that it was the preacher’s job to make her feel guilty. Is that what motivates your sacrifice today? Guilt? Religion can either be about putting things of greater and greater value upon the altar, or it can be about living with compassion, curiosity, and a willingness to go where the spirit leads us. 

For: 
June 28, 2020
Genesis 22:1-14
Pentecost 8
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul - Jesus

Much like the serenity prayer, Jesus encourages us to change the political systems that we can change, to remain nonviolent, reluctantly accepting the limitations of human sin and political failure, and to pray for the wisdom to know the difference. If we do this well, we will be persecuted.

For: 
June 16, 2020
Matthew 10:24-39
Pentecost 3
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them

When the law and order police state headed by Pontius Pilate put Jesus on the cross, his disciples knew that they would share his fate if they walked with those who protested. Because, in a system of systemic racism and inequity, those in high places have an investment in keeping the system just the way it is. If you tell them that the system is unjust, they will crucify you. 

For: 
June 14, 2020
Matthew 9:35-10:23
Matthew 5:3-12
Pentecost 2
Black Lives Matter
"Go to the ends of the earth and make disciples" - Jesus

On Trinity Sunday we consider the new normal of Christianity. Religion at the time of Jesus was mostly a local affair. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his people to go out to the ends of the earth and make disciples in every place, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

For: 
June 7, 2020
Matthew 28:16-20
Trinity Sunday
Pentecost 2

I’d like to see the rain come

Gentle and warm

Reviving the chipmunk

Our dog killed last week

Or healing the nation

Grieving its inability to change

I’d like to see the rain come

Gentle and warm

And do impossible things

Like making our dog regret her instincts

Or those in power their lies

And listen to the rain

Gentle and warm

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones,

 who cry out to him day and night?”

(Luke 18:7)

"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

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