The Second Creation Story

Text: Genesis 2:4-9, 16-25 Reflection and Question: While scholars agree that this second version of creation is a writer from an earlier time than the priestly source discussed yesterday, exactly when this Jahwist school emerged is still debated. Human beings are front and center in this passage. I have always been struck by God’s recognition […]

The First Creation Story

Text: Genesis 1:1-2:3 Reflection and Question: Scholars agree that this vision of creation was written after the return of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem. This priestly source reflects the expansion of their understanding of God from a tribal defender to the creator and sustainer of all. The emphasis on male and female being made in […]

I am God, and There Is No Other

Text: Deuteronomy 13:1-11 Reflection and Question: It is hard for us to imagine the audacity of Isaiah’s proclamation that the God of Israel is the One God who made heaven and earth. In his time, each people, including Israel, conceived of god as the divine power that protected a particular group. The transition is marked […]

Competing Ways to Know Whether Jesus is the Messiah

Text: John 7:37-52 Reflection and Question: Those who question how Jesus can be the Messiah because He comes from Galilee make a good Biblical point. Nothing in the Hebrew Scripture supports that the Messiah will come from Galilee. Bethlehem is the family seat of David. Instead of looking at this detail from Scripture, Nicodemus asks […]

Sharing in the Inheritance of the Saints in Light

Text: Colossians 1:1-14 Reflection and Question: This opening to the letter to the church in Colossae has the usual greeting, thanksgiving for the congregation and prayer typically found at the beginning of Paul’s epistles. The writer uses a wonderful phrase describing the church as those whom God has “enabled to share in the inheritance of […]

May God Regard with Favor Your Burnt Sacrifices

Text: Psalm 20 Reflection and Question: It is the custom in my church, The Community of Reconciliation, for the leader in worship to have a “signature” benediction. These verses have become very familiar to me because my friend, Pastor Tom, uses them when he closes our Sunday service. He catches me up every time when […]

Making the Most of the Time

Text: Deuteronomy 13:1-11 Reflection and Question: This passage was cited by Rob Furgerson in a comment on my Oct. 30 blog about empathy. The writer here is eager to commend the joyful life in Christ where we become imitators of God and live in love. The fruit of such living is “all that is good […]

The Sound of Sheer Silence

Text: 1 Kings 19:9-18 Reflection and Question: Elijah has just spectacularly, single-handedly, defeated the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. In response to his simple prayer fire fell, consuming everything including the water in the trench. Now, because Elijah has killed the prophets of Baal, Jezebel has sworn to kill him. We find him here, […]

John’s Telling of the Feeding of the Five Thousand

Text: John 6:1-14 Reflection and Question: We reflected upon another version of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand not too long ago, touching upon the connection between Holy Communion and this miracle. John’s telling of the story highlights another liturgical reference, that of Passover, for he adds a detail not mentioned by the three other […]

A Hymn to Creation Befitting New Year’s Day

Text: Psalm 8 Reflection and Question: When I was in high school, the headmistress expected us memorize a Bible passage every week. This hymn to God as Creator was one I was asked to memorize back then. I am glad some of its verses are called to mind on this first day of a New […]