To Impose No Further Burden

Text: Revelation 2:18-29 Reflection and Question: Thank goodness Jesus promises through John’s letter to place no further burdens on the faithful in the city of Thyatira; the burdens already imposed are severe enough: pain, suffering and death! Instead, Jesus says He will give them the “star of dawn,” a lovely image in the midst of […]

Pleasure in Those Who Wait Upon God’s True Love

Text: Psalm 147:1-11 Reflection and Question: Praise of God comes easy to the Psalmist here as God’s good works both great and small, both personal and universal, come tumbling out in joyous poetry. From healing the broken spirit to clothing the hills with grass, God’s power is clearly great and God’s wisdom is beyond all […]

Amos’ Standard Sermon

Text: Amos 8:1-14 Reflection and Question: Amos preached in the Northern Kingdom when it was rich and respected and thought itself to be blessed by God. But its prosperity rested upon corruption and exploitation, exposed by Amos, and, thirty years after his prophecy, Israel fell to the Assyrian army. Chapter 8 is the core of […]

John Receives the Call to Prophesy

Text: Revelation 1:9-16 Reflection and Question: Echoing earlier prophets who described their call from God to speak, like Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-21) and Isaiah (6:1-13), John establishes his authority at the beginning of Revelation. Like Isaiah, John is in worship on the Lord’s day when he hears a voice charging him to write to seven […]

Marriage, Resurrection and What’s Really Important

Text: Matthew 22:23-33 Reflection and Question: Jesus’ answer to a trick question from some Sadducees — conservative priests who were trying to trap Jesus into denying resurrection — is a consolation to some GLBT Christians I know. Although some people in the church refuse to recognize their relationships as marriage, Jesus’ answer here suggests that […]

Jesus Orders the Crowd Not to Make Him Known

Text: Matthew 12:14-21 Reflection and Question: Matthew 12:16 and Mark 3:12 are almost identical in the original Greek, which translate as: “And he ordered them not to make him known.” In seminary they call this “The Messianic Secret” in which Jesus regularly warns his followers not to speak of His power or deeds. But, you […]

The Astounding Start of John’s Life

Text: Luke 1:57-68 Reflection and Question: Astounding things had led up to John’s birth: his mother Elizabeth was the latest in the line of women in the Bible to give birth late in life, and his father had been struck dumb by the angel Gabriel for doubting the prophecy of the child’s greatness. Now, at […]

God’s Day is Darkness, Not Light

Text: Amos 5:18-27 Reflection and Question: For as long as I can remember, a two-story high banner has hung in the chancel of my church home, the Community of Reconciliation, with words that tumble down over rocks: “Let justice roll down like waters.” And we in the congregation know the parallel poetry, “And righteousness like […]

For a Generation To Come

Text: Psalm 102 Reflection and Question: The Psalmist’s purpose here is spelled out loud and clear: “This is recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise God.” It makes good sense, then, that the opening verses of this psalm move from a very personal prayer, with graphic images of […]

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

Text: Matthew 21:33-46 Reflection and Question: Everyone listening immediately got the point of Jesus’ parable about the wicked servants who even killed the owner’s son. Of course the chief priests and the Pharisees understood this indictment against them and sought to arrest Jesus after this. But today, who exactly the wicked tenants are is not […]