The Choice of Zion and David

Text: Psalm 132 Reflection and Question: This psalm is a Song of Ascents, a collection of psalms (120-134) that were probably sung by pilgrims on their way to the Temple in Jerusalem. We can imagine in our mind’s eye Jesus as a youth chanting this along with His family as they headed toward a festival, […]

The Quid Pro Quo Upon Which Israel is Built

Text: 1 Kings 8:65-9:9 Reflection and Question: The history of Israel is beyond dispute: the kingdom rose and then fell, being conquered by the mightier powers of Babylon, Persia and Rome. At the same time, the love of God is everlasting and God has promised blessing upon the house of David forever. In Solomon’s celebration […]

No Place for Judging Others

Text: James 2:1-13 Reflection and Question: It is hard to imagine how James could be more contemporary in his indictment of any and every local congregation. Does your church prefer rich or poor in the pew? Would your church prefer a young white male pastor to a middle-aged matron, or someone straight over a GLBT […]

Encouraging Timothy in Teaching

Text: 1 Timothy 4:7b-16 Reflection and Question: Paul is the mentor of Timothy, a young Christian, and offers his young colleague this strong advice: “Let no one despise your youth.” A suggestion made after the last Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly reminded me of the importance of this advice. At the GA, the impact of […]

The Ark of the Covenant is Placed in the Temple

Text: 1 Kings 7:51-8:21 Reflection and Question: Solomon has succeeded in building a grand Temple to be the house of the Lord. Now all the heads of the tribes and the elders of Israel assemble as the Ark of the Covenant is moved from the tent somewhere in Jerusalem, where David placed it, to the […]

David’s Prayer for Victory

Text: Psalm 20 Reflection and Question: One of my friends in ministry uses this psalm as the Benediction when he leads worship on Sunday morning. He takes this ancient prayer of the people of Israel for the king to triumph in battle and makes it ours in the 21st century. I easily translate the warnings […]

Their Last Supper Together

Text: Mark 14:12-26 bad credit no credit check payday loans Reflection and Question: Jesus and his followers enter Jerusalem on the day the Passover lamb is sacrificed. The disciples prepare the Passover meal and the discussion about who will betray Jesus reminds them of Jesus’ expectation of suffering and death. From that day to this, […]

The Wisdom of Solomon

Text: 1 Kings 3:1-15 Reflection and Question: God is pleased with Solomon’s request for wisdom to rule God’s people and grants that wish. And yet, Solomon plants the seeds for God’s wrath by violating the rules against worshiping at high places other than Jerusalem and marrying foreign women. Solomon’s experience is repeated over and over […]

The Lesson from the Fig Tree

Text: Mark 13:28-37 Reflection and Question: In the spring of my senior year in college, when I knew I was heading toward seminary, the department of my major, Government, approved an independent study with the University Preacher to look carefully at passages in the New Testament that perplexed me. One set of those was Jesus’ […]

Paul’s Standard Testimony

Text: Acts 26:1-23 Reflection and Question: Herod Agrippa, the puppet of the Romans, invites Paul to give his testimony and Paul proceeds to tell his story. He describes his fierce persecution of those devoted to Jesus and his conversion on the Damascus road when Jesus spoke directly to him. Paul explains his mission to the […]