The Lesson of the Tower of Babel

Text: Genesis 11:1-9 Reflection and Question: The lesson in the story of the tower of Babel seems to be God’s preference for diversity. At the beginning the whole earth has one language and the people start to cooperate to build cities and towers. God concludes, “Nothing that they do will be impossible for them,” and […]

Who May Dwell on God’s Holy Hill?

Text: Psalm 15 Reflection and Question: Here is a quick checklist of the virtues needed to enter into the Temple on Mount Zion. Perhaps you are stopped short by the reference to those “who do not lend money at interest” and wonder, as I do, how our economy would run if there were no lending […]

God’s Covenant with Noah Sealed in the Rainbow

Text: Genesis 9:1-17 Reflection and Question: The ordeal of the great flood is over. All animal life has been destroyed except for the life preserved by Noah in the ark. And now God makes a covenant with Noah in which God promises never again to destroy the earth by flood. God seals the promise with […]

Jesus Challenges Nicodemus, a Pharisee

Text: John 2:23-3:15 Reflection and Question: Nicodemus comes into the Gospel of John several times as a very devout Pharisee who is attracted to and intrigued by Jesus. This exchange between Jesus and Nicodemus brings up a variety of mysterious terms. For me, Jesus’ central message here is “The wind blows where it will,” meaning […]

Paul Outlines How a Good Church Works

Text: Ephesians 4:1-16 Reflection and Question: The apostle Paul was all about church-building; that is, nurturing communities based upon faith in Jesus Christ as the beloved Son of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. He uses this same image of the one body for the church in the first letter to the Corinthians. It is […]

The Word of God is Sharper than Any Two-Edged Sword

Text: Hebrews 4:1-13 Reflection and Question: This passage is the end of a sermon based on Psalm 95:7-11 that begins at Hebrews 3:7. The preacher plays with the idea of “rest” as a way to encourage us to persevere, unlike the ancestors who failed the test of faith in the wilderness. The last verses are […]

The Wedding at Cana

Text: John 2:1-12 Reflection and Question: Jesus’ turning of the water into wine is the first sign of His glory, and He was ever so hesitant to do it. “My hour has not yet come,” He says to Mary. This miracle of turning water into wine is the heart of this passage; the wedding provides […]

God is King! Let the Earth Rejoice

Text: Psalm 97 Reflection and Question: We forget that our colonial ancestors did not reject kingship per se; they rejected human claim to the kingship that belongs to God alone, and that is praised in this psalm. This poem reflects the highest expression of God as the Maker and Ruler of all. The last verses […]

A Sacrifice of Atonement for the Sins of the People

Text: Hebrews 2:11-18 Reflection and Question: Jesus’ atonement on the Cross has been a flashpoint of controversy ever since a workshop leader at the Re-imagining Conference in 1993 challenged the traditional bloody image of ritual sacrifice most recently captured in Mel Gibson’s 2004 Passion of the Christ. This passage offers a different view of Jesus’ […]

The Voice of One Crying Out in the Wilderness

Text: John 1:19-28 Reflection and Question: As the good Jew that he is, John answers the question, “Who are you?” with a reference to Scripture. He takes on the mantle of the one in Isaiah 40 who shows those in exile the way back to Jerusalem. John is suspect to the priests, Levites and Pharisees […]