Brushing Off the Preacher

Reflection and Question: At this point in his ministry Jeremiah had been banned from preaching, so he and Baruch devised a clever plan where he would dictate his sermon to Baruch who would write it all down and preach it in Jeremiah’s place. When Micaiah heard Baruch read from the scroll, he went up the […]

The Maxi and the Mini Sinners

Text: Luke 7: 36-50 Reflection and Question: The story of a woman anointing Jesus appears in all four Gospels (Mt 26:6-13, Mk 14:3-9 and Jn 12:1-8) but Luke is the only one who sees in it a lesson about sin, forgiveness and love. The host is the mini-sinner Jesus speaks of when he says, “he […]

Jesus Sends Out Laborers into the Harvest

Text: Matthew 9:35-10:4 Reflection and Question: Both Matthew and Luke (10:2) report this saying of Jesus’ that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” This verse is repeated at every Presbyterian service of ordination — and every time it […]

The One Body of Christ

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 low income loans Reflection and Question: Paul is addressing the problem of factions and hierarchy in the church in Corinth, but his point rings true today: Christ expects us to find unity in the midst of our diversity. Paul uses the image of the human body to express this truth: How […]

Trust and Delight in God

Text: Psalm 16 Reflection and Question: This strong, unequivocal outpouring of faith vividly expresses the blessings that flow from the covenant with God. “The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places: Yea, I have a goodly heritage.” I knew this was true for me when I heard it recited each summer by a girl […]

Dire Prophecy and Recommitment to God

Text: 2 Kings 22:14-23:3 Reflection and Question: All the king’s men go to a woman, the prophetess Huldah, who tells them that disaster will come to Judah in accordance with God’s Will, although it will not happen while Josiah is king. When Josiah hears this, he calls all the people together and has the law […]

Men, Women, Hair and Veils

Text: 1 Corinthians 11:2-22 Reflection and Question: In this passage, Paul advises the Corinthians on the proper relationship between men and women and between all people and God. The good news is Paul’s implication that women can and do prophesy and pray in public; otherwise, he would not need to write about the conduct of […]

Jesus Heals the Two Demoniacs

Text: Matthew 8:28-34 Reflection and Question: As word spread about Jesus’ teachings and works, not everyone wanted to join in. In Gadara, Jesus had healed two demoniacs possessed by unclean spirits by sending the demons into a herd of swine. When the swineherds reported this healing (or, perhaps, the loss of their livelihood) in the […]

Confession of Our Sin Against the Jews

Text: Acts 12:1-17 Reflection and Question: This action-packed description of Herod’s treatment of the first believers is striking, in part because Peter’s miraculous escape from prison has remarkable similarities to Jesus’ resurrection. But for me the more important aspect of this passage is the way it has contributed to Christian persecution of the Jews ever […]

Isaiah’s Prophecy and Jerusalem Spared

Text: 2 Kings 19:21-36 Reflection and Question: The king of Assyria has defeated the kingdom of Israel and threatens to lay siege to Jerusalem with a huge army. After the king of Israel, Hezekiah, prays for God’s deliverance from this danger, Isaiah responds with a poetic reminder of the eternal power of God and the […]