The Jerusalem Leaders Endorse Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles

Text: Acts 15:12-21 Reflection and Question: We step into the midst of the struggle among the Christians whose roots grow deeply in the ground of Jewish tradition to accept into their fellowship the believers in Jesus whose roots are in non-Jewish religion and culture. Quoting Scripture from the prophets, James articulates the minimal expectations of […]

The Trials and Delights of Paul’s Ministry

Text: Acts 14:19-28 Reflection and Question: Paul’s preaching in Antioch and Iconium stirred up an opposition who tried to stone him to death. Rescued by disciples in the area, Paul escaped with Barnabas and, as they traveled, they “strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith.” This itineration was […]

Supplication and Thanksgiving

Text: Psalm 86 Reflection and Question: Pleas for help and thanks for such help do entwine in our daily lives. Since we are always in need of help, we also have direct experience, like the Psalmist, of receiving gracious answers to our cries. What holds us up is the steadfast love of God who rejoices […]

The Contrast Between David and Saul

Text:1 Samuel 24:1-22 Reflection and Question: Saul progresses from throwing spears at David to hunting him down with three thousand chosen fighters. David, while he hid unseen in the back of the cave, could have killed Saul as the king slept at the cave entrance. David truly never wanted to hurt Saul in contrast to […]

The Parable of the Talents

Text:Matthew 25:14-30 Reflection and Question: In a workshop I attended recently, the leader offered this parable as Jesus’ teaching about what would be required in the church after He ascended into heaven. The workshop leader suggested that Jesus was preparing the early church for the difficult risks they would need to take in order for […]

Jesus Creates a New Family

Text: Mark 3:19b-35 Reflection and Question: : In this passage, controversy swirls around Jesus. After the brouhaha with some scribes over the genesis of His message, He has the audacity to ignore His own mother and brothers — which was a big deal because the family was such a crucial structure of Jewish religion and […]

The Joy of God’s Salvation

Text: Psalm 51 Reflection and Question: This is a wonderful confession of personal sin and plea for forgiveness. It captures the deepest yearnings of many GLBT Christians as they become conscious that their sexual orientation varies from societal and traditional norms. In response, some GLBT believers claim to be made heterosexual through repentance. Others emerge […]

Jonathan and David Part

Text: Deuteronomy 13:1-11 Reflection and Question: Jonathan finally grasps that Saul will kill David if he does not flee. It is not surprising, given their devotion to one another, that the parting here is highly emotional. My friend Rev. Tom Fairley, honorably retired minister and a serious Hebrew scholar, is adamant that there is also […]

David and Jonathan Enact Their Covenant

Text: 1 Samuel 20:1-23 Reflection and Question: David has been staying ahead of the soldiers sent by Saul to attack him when he meets up with Jonathan who is slow to acknowledge his father’s plans to kill David. Their covenant becomes a practical matter as David promises to care for Jonathan’s family forever and Jonathan […]

Saul Pursues David

Text: 1 Samuel 19:1-18 Reflection and Question: We know that Saul envied David’s popularity among the people. This passage hints at another reason Saul sought to destroy David: Jonathan’s “great delight in David.” Saul lies to Jonathan when he promises that he will not kill David, perhaps because he wants to keep his son’s good […]