Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Text: Galatians 5:13-25 Reflection and Question: In Galatians Paul presents his solution to the fact that Gentiles were considered an abomination by the Jewish followers of Jesus because they did not follow Jewish purity laws. Paul’s logic is that Jesus frees both Jew and Gentile from the law by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. […]

Sarah Is Brought in on the Joke (I Mean Promise)

Text: Genesis 18:1-16 Reflection and Question: A basic unfairness has always mystified me in this story of God’s visit to tell Sarah she will bear a son in her old age. You remember that Abraham laughed when God told him the same thing in the text from yesterday. And yet, Sarah’s laughter in response to […]

Sarai Becomes Sarah and the Covenant is Sealed

Text: Genesis 17:15-27 Reflection and Question: When God promises Abraham that he will receive a son by Sarai, God also changes her name. Name-changing like this marks a change in relationship, reflected here in the covenant sealed in the act of circumcision. This passage emphasizes that Ishmael will also become the father of a great […]

The Law and the Sacrifices in Perspective

Text: Hebrews 10:1-10 Reflection and Question: When the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans, the Jews in the era after Jesus’ death had to reimagine their faith separate from the rituals centered upon sacrifice and purity. The writer of Hebrews offers one alternative: to understand Jesus as both high priest and as […]

Abraham, Sarai, Hagar and Ishmael

Text: Genesis 16:1-14 Reflection and Question: In the sweep of the Genesis stories about “the patriarchs,” the women involved pretty much just came along for the ride until the establishment of the women’s movement with its interest in Bible and theology. The complex dynamics between Sarai and Hagar now take center stage in this passage. […]

A Prayer for Deliverance

Text: Psalm 54 Reflection and Question: This is one of the many psalms that ask God for vindication over one’s enemies. When I read these psalms in my prayers, the ancient words remind me that, even as we seek peaceful reconciliation of our differences, fear and frustration have been part of the human experience since […]

Jesus Heals the Royal Official’s “Son”

Text: John 4:43-54 Reflection and Question: Most of the time, the contention has been that Jesus had nothing to say or do about gays. This has changed in recent years, and this healing of the high official’s “son” is one of the texts cited to present a different view. There are versions of this same […]

Paul’s Telling of His Visit to Jerusalem

Text: Galatians 2:1-11 Reflection and Question: Though the other telling of Paul’s visit to the leaders in Jerusalem in Acts 15 and this passage differ in detail, the outcome is the same: Gentiles who have been filled with the Holy Spirit are welcomed into the church. Paul emphasizes this here because he is challenging those […]

Jesus, Our High Priest After the Order of Melchizedek

Text: Hebrews 7:18-28 Take payday loans same day at Reflection and Question: Protestant Christians of the Reformation used this passage to support their complaint against the institution of the priesthood as it had developed in the Catholic Church through the centuries. For the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is the sole high priest who creates […]

Jesus with the Samaritan Woman at the Well

Text: John 4:16-26 Reflection and Question: For Jesus as a Jew to be speaking to a Samaritan was utterly unthinkable in His time. For Jesus to be speaking to a woman who was a stranger to Him was equally beyond the laws of both the Jews and the Samaritans. Within this unimaginable context, Jesus and […]