Good Counsel on New Year’s Eve

Text: James 4:13-17; 5:7-11 Reflection and Question: Tonight we party until the New Year comes. At midnight we will toast with fervent hope for the prospering of all our plans and dreams. But James offers a sobering reminder that our plans are at the mercy of what tomorrow brings, and we have no idea what […]

Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son From the Dead

Text: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Reflection and Question: This is the second miracle performed by the prophet as the stories about Elijah begin. First, he sought out a widow who had only a handful of meal and a little oil for herself and her son’s last meal. When Elijah joins them, the food does not fail […]

The Contradictions of the Commandment to Love

Text: 2 John 1-13 Reflection and Question: On the one hand, the Elder rooted in the Johannine circle of teaching characteristically commends loving one another to the churches receiving this letter. On the other hand, he warns against those who do not abide in Christ, instructing his readers to refuse to welcome them. Can that […]

A Cascade of Images for God’s Love

Text: Isaiah 54:1-13 Reflection and Question: The first part of this passage raises up in my mind “Sing Oh Barren One” on the album, Sacred Ground, by Sweet Honey in the Rock where their wide harmonies capture the enlarging of the tent of God’s people. Then the voice in Isaiah changes from the third person […]

Amazing Testimonies to Jesus’ Future Ministry

Text: Luke 2:22-40 Reflection and Question: As devout Jews, Jesus’ parents take their first-born son to the Temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to God. This provides a public occasion for further recognition of Jesus’ amazing role of bringing God’s salvation. The prophecies of Simeon and Anna confirm the words of the angel to the […]

Walking in the Law of God

Text: Psalm 119:1-24 Reflection and Question: Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible. It is made up of a series of wisdom poems that explore the nature and meaning of God’s Law. In this first one, happiness or delight is associated with keeping God’s commandments. And the hint that the psalmist “lives in […]

John’s Summary of the Meaning of Christmas

Text: 1 John 4:7-16 Reflection and Question: Today what we celebrate is God’s love in sending Jesus, the Child of God, to us. God is love and God loves us: both noun and verb at the same time. And the simple consequence of that awesome truth is also the meaning of this day: since God […]

Paul’s Hymn to Jesus’ Coming

Text: Philippians 2:5-11 Reflection and Question: I really like the way the Daily Lectionary avoids the traditional readings for Christmas and instead cuts to the quick with this awesome description of what God did in Jesus, and exactly who Jesus is. Jesus’ humility and obedience are as manifest in the Baby Jesus in the manger […]

Faith in God’s Attentive Care

Text: Psalm 17 Reflection and Question: The psalmist’s plea for vindication is earnest and self-righteous. There is no doubt about who is right — the writer is. There is some doubt as to the singer’s safety, however, so that the prayers for shelter and protection ring true. And yet the psalmist remains utterly confident that […]

Mary’s Song

Text: Luke 1:39-56 Reflection and Question: Facing the dangerous predicament of being a pregnant, unmarried woman, Mary seeks out her cousin, Elizabeth, who is now great with child. After the women greet one another, Elizabeth reports that the child in her womb leapt for joy at Mary’s coming. And then Mary pours forth the amazing […]