Holy Understatement

Text: Acts 20:7-12 Reflection and Question: I can well believe that the Christians of Troas “were not a little comforted” when they took Eutychus home alive after he fell three stories to the ground from where he had sat in the window of their upper room, listening to Paul preach on and on until he […]

Those Who Have Been Washed in the Blood of the Lamb

Text: Revelation 7:9-17 Reflection and Question: It is well documented that Revelation was written during the time of oppression after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD in order to strengthen and console faithful Christians in the face of severe persecution. The listeners could cling to the hope that they would come out of their […]

Punishment for Sins Laid Bare

Text: Lamentations 4:1-22 Reflection and Question: There were no cameras of any sort around 550 BC when the Babylonian Empire conquered Jerusalem. Instead, poets like this one drew images with words that astonish and revolt us: “The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they became their food in the destruction of my […]

Out of the Depths I Cry

Text: Psalm 130 Reflection and Question: This prayer begins as a highly personal and private communication directed to God. We don’t use the word “supplication” much these days, but it captures all the psalmist’s yearning for what is good and right, and then the need for forgiveness is added. Then this prayer to God shifts […]

The Lamb is Willing to Open the Scroll

Text: Revelation 5:1-10 Reflection and Question: On Monday the passage from Zechariah introduced the Biblical writing known as “apocalyptic.” Here we find one of the best-loved apocalyptic images in the last book of the New Testament, Revelation: the Lion of Judah, the Root of Jesse, the Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes who alone […]

A Sower Went Out to Sow

Text: Matthew 13:1-9 Reflection and Question: I confess it is hard to believe that the people who heard this parable did not understand it’s meaning. Or perhaps experience in the church reflects this wisdom so clearly that we have learned its truth through living it. The seeds of the Gospel are scattered and are then […]

A Vision with Comforting Words

Text: Zechariah 1:7-17 Reflection and Question: Zechariah’s vision of the four horsemen reporting “We have patrolled the whole earth, and lo, the whole earth remains at peace,” joins Ezekiel and Daniel in the Old Testament, and Mark 13 and Revelation in the New Testament, as what is called “apocalyptic” writing. Each of these passages is […]

And Who Is My Neighbor?

Text: Luke 10:25-37 Reflection and Question: In the familiar story of the Good Samaritan, there is a wonderful twist that supports the need for full inclusion of the GLBT faithful in the church. In Biblical times, Samaritans were considered unclean by the Jews, making it extra hard for the good lawyer to concede that “the […]

Paul Writes to His Christian Brother, Philemon

Text: Philemon 1-25 unsecured loans with bad credit Reflection and Question: Even though Philemon is Paul’s private correspondence, it has been preserved as Scripture for its clear witness to how Paul applies his faith in a practical situation. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, has been in prison with Paul. Now Paul is asking Philemon to receive Onesimus […]

The Returned Exiles Worship and Rebuild

Text: Ezra 3:1-13 Reflection and Question: To fully appreciate this scene we need to remember that the remnant has returned to Jerusalem after decades of exile in which the city, including the temple, had been laid waste and there had been no traditional worship of God. I think this story prepares us for the day […]