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Bible Commentary

  1. A Careful Read (Matt. 18:15-20) by Deanna Langle

    These six verses are about listening and accountability -- and about a larger vision of Godís kingdom.

  2. A Child of His Time (Phil. 4:8) by Ronald Goetz

    Like Christians of times past, we are inclined to absolutize the values and mores of the age in which we live. Unless we live in some Hitlerian society, there is bound to be real worth in the dominant values of any moment in history.

  3. A Child Shall Lead Us (Is. 11:6, 8-9; Mk. 10:15; Matt. 18:1ff; Lk. 11:11ff) by Lamin Sanneh

    Mindful of the ghosts of Herod’s excess, our business in this Advent season is to treat our own children as God’s gift to us, despite the overwhelming burdens and responsibilities of parenthood and child-rearing in our society.

  4. A Curious Man (John 3:1-17) by Margaret B. Hess

    How might your life be different if you were born again? How would you re-edit the narrative of your life?

  5. A Desert in Bloom (Is. 35:1-10; James 5:7-10; Matt. 11:2-11) by Ruth A. Meyers

    The new life in the desert signals the presence and power of God. Water in abundance brings forth life, the barren desert blossoms with fragrant flowers.

  6. A Doubt and a Promise (Matt. 28:16-20) by Talitha Arnold

    The author is pleased that doubting Thomas didnít let any of the disciples off the hook, for they still had a job to do.

  7. A Generation Ago (Ezk. 37:1-14; Ps. 130; Rom. 8:6-11; John 11:1-45) by Frederick Niedner

    Johnís story of Jesus and Lazarus becomes another allegory about baptism.

  8. A Generous Boss (Matthew 20:1-16) by In-Yong Lee

    Jesus is asking those of us who have been called, first to understand the nature of the kingdom that has been initiated with his coming, and then to be workers with him. We will be great only by becoming othersí servants; we will be exalted only by humbling ourselves.

  9. A Howl of Despair (Psalm 42) by Peter S. Hawkins

    Like all true poetry, the Psalms seem to be newly minted, disarming, to be an utterance that comes straight from the gut as well as from the heart.

  10. A Lot of Junk (Luke 12:13-21) by Lawrence Wood

    This story is not just about what we do personally; it has implications for what we do together.

  11. A New Moon Sensitivity (Amos 8:4-7, I timothy 2:1-8, Luke 16:1-3) by Lamin Sanneh

    For Amos the connection betwen "profits" and "prophets" was more than a matter of literary elision. His words crackle with a telling contemporary ring.

  12. A Portrait of Shame (Genesis 3: 8-15) by Margaret B. Hess

    Looking at Adam and Eve, I see a family resemblance: a picture of my own fear and shame.

  13. A Precarious Righteousness (Mark 7:1-9) by Ronald Goetz

    By our very agreement with Jesus we stand accused despite our moments of righteous living. Given that we are rich when the world is poor, that we cling to our nuclear arms as if world extermination were a noble risk, destroy ancient forests, gouge the landscape, pollute the soil, water and air, that we copulate and abort with unrestrained abandon -- how then are we to interpret Jesusí words, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles," so as to come up smelling like roses?

  14. A Question of Faith (Lk. 1:13, 18; 30-31, 34) by Jennette F. Scholer

    What it means to be an obedient servant of the Lord as in the example in which Mary asked a question of God’s angel in contrast to the way Zechariah asked one.

  15. A Questionable God (Exodus 3:1-15, Matthew 16:21-28, Romans 12:9-21) by William L. Hawkins

    The move from Moses and YHWH in the Sinai to Jesus and Peter at Caesarea Philippi presents something of a role reversal. Now the "I Am," the God-with-us, speaks, and Moses the questioner becomes Peter the questioned. "Who do you say that I am?" asks Jesus. Peterís confident reply of "Messiah" is quickly followed by Jesusí command for silence about his identity.

  16. A Season of Prayer (Acts 1:1-14) by Kelly Lyn Logue

    We are afraid to waste time, but waiting takes time and if we model our lives after Jesus, time is a gift to experience.

  17. A Second Advent (Jer. 31:31-34). by Ronald Goetz

    Despite our frustrations and doubts, we have seen the intimacy promised by Jeremiah partially realized in the coming of Christ. In Advent we are impelled to look beyond the first to the second coming, when Godís covenant will cease to be only a hint and a promise, when it will become our eternal destiny.

  18. A Terrible Text (Mk. 7:14-29) by Joanna Adams

    It took more than a decapitation (of the head of John the Baptist) to stop the truth of God, more than a crucifixion to stop the Son of God, more than persecution to stop the mission of God.

  19. A Twofold Death and Resurrection (Jn. 11:25-26) by Fred B. Craddock

    What is really going on here is not only a family crisis in Bethany but the crisis of the world, not only the raising of a dead man but the giving of life to the world.

  20. A Waiting Church (Isa. 25:9) by William Willimon

    Lent requires a severe discipline on the part of the church. It is the discipline of waiting, waiting for Easter but knowing nobody gets in on Easter who was not here for Good Friday.

  21. A Wandering Faith (Heb. 11:1-3, 8-16) by Lawrence Wood

    Our Western privilege is at odds with a faith that supposedly began in radical simplicity. Faith blooms in dispossession. When you donít have anything else to hold onto, when you can no longer clutch lesser things, you hold onto your God, and your God holds onto you.

  22. A Watery Solution (Mark 1:4-11; Genesis 1:1-5) by Barbara Sholis

    Baptism reminds us that Godís creative force is still birthing us, claiming us, renewing us.

  23. A Word and a Calling (1 Sam. 3:1-20; Jn. 1:43-51) by Susan B. W. Johnson

    Many of us find it hard to perceive the voice of the Lord.

  24. A Word of Encouragement (Heb. 10:11-25) by Peter J. Gomes

    Perhaps in our public prayers we ought to make room for yet another category: "prayers of encouragement," For it is our spiritual obligation to encourage one another.

  25. Abide in me . . . (John 15:1-8) by F. Dean Lueking

    As essential as lively biblical, doctrinal and liturgical catechesis is the desire to connect with God and people in ways that have depth and can last.

  26. Abiding Love (John 15:1-17; 1 John 5:1-6) by William Brosend

    Jesusí image of vine, branch and fruit is not about viticulture. It is about abiding. Loving is the highest form of abiding, of being present for another.

  27. Above and Beyond (Lk. 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11) by Lawrence Wood

    Even as the ascension leaves us here, in the modern world, ascension points beyond it. Jesus may have risen, but in another sense he remains on the ground.

  28. Abundant Life (Prov. 25:6-7; Heb. 13:1-8,15-16; Lk. 14:1, 7-14) by Martha P. Sterne

    After carefully watching guests do their subtle ballet of who should sit higher than whom, Jesus says, "Whoa. Why don’t you try this? Head for the lowest seat available; then your host will say in front of everybody, ‘Friend, come up higher,’ which would be a very satisfying experience."

  29. Acknowledgment (Ps. 23; I Sam. 13:1-16;Eph. 5:8-14;John 9:1-41) by Richard Lischer

    The author uses the story of the man born blind to show what difficulty religious people have in acknowledging the power of God.

  30. Advent Alchemy (Isaiah 64:1-9, I Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37) by John Stendahl

    We join Isaiah and Jesus and Paul and all the rest of them, longing for the heavens to open, for justice to come for the living and the dead., for mercy to make right this damned and beloved world. We will not choose indifference or resignation.

  31. Advent Preaching: Burden and Hope (Rom. 8:24-25) by Robert H. Herhold

    The tension between our moment and the eschatological moment must be retained. For instance, when speaking eschatologically about the nuclear arms race, a preacher would refer to such things as the blasphemy of destroying God’s handiwork and the idolatry of the bomb, not simply to a nuclear freeze. And those eschatological statements are, in fact, more realistic about the nature of the present darkness than is any political solution.

  32. After Liberation, What? (Lev.19:1-2, 15-18; Mt. 22:34-46) by Delores S. Williams

    Christians need to realize that the liberation struggle and a responsible love ethic must come together in our way of living.

  33. All Things New (Revelation 21: 1-5) by T.V. Philip

    The biblical message is that in the midst of all fearful events of our day, God is opening up a new future for us. He has given us this hope in Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation is about this hope -- the hope for the future which God is bringing about.

  34. Altar Call (Psalm 51:5-17) by Fred B. Craddock

    Psalm 51 is one of the seven classic penitential psalms used on occasions of confessing sin. Sin is acknowledged with frequent repetition for intensification of feeling; petition is made for divine favor; a vow to God is made; worshipers affirm what really matters between them and God.

  35. Amateurs and Rookies (Is. 6:1-8; 1 Cor. 1.5:1-11; Lk. 5:1-11) by Frederick Niedner

    The Galilean fishermen learned how to become fishers of men, even though they -- like us -- were amateurs.

  36. An Invitation (Phil. 4:1-9; Mat. 22:1-14) by Judith Johnson-Siebold

    When we are Christians in name only, we are invited to the wedding feast but we do not attend. Are others invited to take our places?

  37. And Jesus Laughed (Luke 17:11-19) by Mark Harris

    Jesus was laughing with delight when he prayed, "I thank thee, Father. . ."

  38. Another Commandment (Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34) by Maria Teresa Palmer

    If Jesus had answered only that "man must love god with all his heart, mind and strength..." when asked which is the great commandment and stopped there, the greatness of Christianity would not exist.

  39. Anticipation (Jer. 33:14-16; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; Ps. 25:1-9; Lk. 21:25-36) by John C. Morris

    We have been given a foretaste of the righteousness and justice promised by Jeremiah, and we have some experience of the holiness and abounding love described by Paul.

  40. Anxious Moments (Matthew 11:16-19, 28-30, Romans 7:15-25a) by Verity A. Jones

    We are anxious about many things: having enough money, having good enough health, being secure and safe. Perhaps the Eucharist addresses our need: "Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdensÖ"

  41. Apocalypse Now (Is. 64:1-9; Ps. 80:1-7, 17-19; 1Cor. 1:3-9; Mk. 13:24-37) by Kathleen Norris

    The 1 Corinthians reference mirrors the thoughts of Isaiah as does Paul when he addresses what it means to be Godís people.

  42. Apostle at my Door (Is. 58:1-12; I Cor. 2:1-16;Ps. 112:1-10; Matt. 5:13-20.) by Mitchell Hay

    A reflection prompted by viewing the movie, The Apostle, and a visit from a traveling missionary.

  43. Are We There Yet? (Rom. 5:1-8) by Felipe N. Martinez

    The route from suffering to hope can be a very winding road, but fellow travelers along that road can give the lost traveler direction.

  44. Arguing with Paul (2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17) by Michael A. King

    The author confesses he doesnít want to leave this body, to die, but when he is dragged out Ė kicking and screaming all the way Ė "at home with the Lord" is where heíll be.

  45. As a Hen Gathers Her Brood by Barbara Brown Taylor

    The mother hen has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first.

  46. As Good as Dead (Rom. 4:13-25; Matt. 9:9-13, 18-26) by Felipe N. Martinez

    The Spirit gives us the peace to withstand the pain, loss and ridicule we will encounter on the way to discovering new life after being as good as dead.

  47. At Ground Zero (James 5:13-20) by Stephen Paul Bouman

    The author writes of those dying in traumatic moments and how their struggle with their illnesses is also a struggle of faith.

  48. At Home in God (Acts 2:42-47;Ps.23;I Pet.2:l9-25;John l0:1-10) by Susan R. Andrews

    The author reminds us that we have a home in God and that God abides also in us.

  49. At Table With the Saints (I John 3:1-3) by Bruce Modahl

    Going to church makes a difference in how we live and in how we die.

  50. Back to Life (John 11:1-45) by Suzanne Guthrie

    Jesusí death is planned by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin because he had brought forth life in Lazarus -- a double irony.

  51. Baffling Blindness (1 Sam. 16:1-13; Ps. 23; Eph. 5:8-14; Jn. 9:1-41) by Frederick Niedner

    In the story of the blind man, John tells us the allegory that with completely good eyes, we canít see the truth, that we arenít worthy of the good things we get.

  52. Balance Sheet (Mat. 22:15-22) by Judith Johnson-Siebold

    Jesus may have been making the point that nothing belongs to Caesar. In the conflict between the secular and the religious, how liberating it is to say, "No, I cannot attend, I will be at church."

  53. Be Happy (Micah 6:1-8; Matthew 5:1-12) by Patricia Farris

    The Beatitudes place our lives in the context of the whole realm and scope and community of Godís love and justice. More description than instruction, more report than directive, they compose a litany in which all promises point to the same reality.

  54. Be Watchful (Mark 13: 3l-37) by T.V. Philip

    That Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead is an article of our faith. Unfortunately, the mainline churches have left it to the sectarian groups to teach and preach on the second coming.

  55. Begging to Give (2 Cor. 8:7-15) by Heiko A. Oberman

    All families need access to adequate housing, a healthy diet, good education and security. But for huge numbers of people, those kinds of needs are fantasy. The answer just might lie in churches that are begging -- begging for the privilege of standing with those in need and applying a holistic gospel to the systems that deprive people of their dignity.

  56. Beside the Lord (Prov. 8:22, 29-31) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    Trinitarian images ground Christian faith, love and hope by providing for the experiences of separation and distance in Christian life, while insisting on a unity with God that transcends all temporal and spatial boundaries.

  57. Between the Lines (Prov. 8: 1-4, 22-31; Ps. 8; Rom. 5: 1-5; Jn. 16: 12-15) by Peter S. Hawkins

    Preachers seem to feel the need to explain the Trinity. But when you approach the mysterious feast of God, the direct approach simply will not work.

  58. Between Two Advents: In the Interim (Luke 21:28) by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

    Our task "between the two advents" is simple faithfulness in our work and in our attitudes -- the kind of faithfulness that shows we are being drawn forward by the magnet force of the kingdom of God.

  59. Big Story (Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21) by Amy B. Hunter

    Jesusí feeding of the loaves and fishes to thousands is a metaphor of Paulís insistence that the gospel is to be fed to everyone, gentile and Jew alike.

  60. Blind Spots (Mark 10:46-52) by Mary W. Anderson

    What are our blind spots, what corners of the church and of society need serious reformation in the 21st century? What do we allow to go unchallenged today that will one day cause our grandchildren to shake their heads at how blind we were to the gospel?

  61. Blinded by the Light (John 17:20-26) by Suzanne Guthrie

    In the season of Ascension we are asked to behold a beauty that until now has been only inferred, conjectured, dreamed.

  62. Bloody Gospel (Matthew 26:14-27:66) by Frederick Niedner

    This article appeared in The Christian Century, March 11, 2008, p. 20. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscriptions information can be found at This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

  63. Boast Not (I Cor. 9:16-23) by Ray Rhoads

    If we asked the question "who are we and what is our destiny?", and if we refuse to accept answers from the world, the question will not be what we ask but what is asked of us.

  64. Book 'Em (Jer. 1:4-10; Cor. 13:1-13; Lk. 4:21-30) by William Willimon

    Things were fine in Nazareth until Jesus opened his mouth and all hell broke lose.

  65. Branded by God (Jeremiah 31:31-34) by Stacey Elizabeth Simpson

    Exposing our hearts to God, we are "branded" by the word that makes us community. Pain, indelibility and identity are the hallmarks of God writing the covenant on the heart of the people.

  66. Bread and Miracles (John 6:1-21) by H. Stephen Shoemaker

    Johnís story about feeding the five thousand tells us that God wants hungry people fed. But the miracle, because it is also a "sign," teaches us that God wants more than stomachs filled.

  67. Breaking and Entering (Luke 13:1-9) by Thomas G. Long

    The sign of the times, the clue to the breaking in of Godís reign, is the gracious and patient hand that reaches out to halt the ax, the merciful voice that says, "Letís give this hopeless case one more year."

  68. Bringing Good Tidings to the Afflicted (Isa. 61:1-2) by Glenn Loafmann

    Christians should care for the afflicted simply because they are human and because the need us, because we or they will never again have this chance. Even if we can do nothing to mend or to prevent the tragedy, we can warm the night.

  69. Building Bigger Closets (Ec. 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Ps. 49:1-12; Col. 3:1-11 Lk. 12:13-21) by Martha P. Sterne

    For some of us it is always time to start getting ready to worry.

  70. Building Community Amid Troubles (Phil. 22-4; Matt. 21:28-32; Ezek. 18:1-4) by Delores S. Williams

    Paulís words are both instructive and troubling to us today. They teach us that there can be no such thing as community without unity of consciousness, collective action free of individual greed, humility and respect for the other and as much concern for the other personís welfare as for our own.

  71. By Our Love (Jn. 13:31-35) by James C. Somerville

    The love Jesus shows his disciples is the love we are called to show others.

  72. Call Me (Deut. (18:15-20; Ps. 111; I Cor. 8:1-13) by Paul Keim

    In our day, the word of the Lord is cheap, visions are widespread and telemarketers call us by name. How do we distinguish Godís call?

  73. Called to Order (Deut. 18:15-20; Ps. 111; I Cor. 8:1-13 by Paul Keim

    If the word turns out not to be true, or the prediction does not come to pass, then it is evident that it was not a true word of Yahweh, but only prophetic arrogance.

  74. Capital T (Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29) by Kevin Baker

    As the church continues to reflect on the gift of the Spirit and the challenge of our calling, it is time to once again take up the mantle of speaking truth in love and exposing the big and small lies that entangle us and threaten our undoing.

  75. Caution: Contents May Be Hot (Matthew 5:1-12) by Lillian Daniel

    Many of Jesusí teachings are not only hot, theyíre revolutionary But when they become too hot to handle, we retreat into one passage -- "Blessed are the meek" -- and throw it over any sparks that might ignite into a reordering of the world.

  76. Cellmates (Isaiah 35:1-10; Matthew 11:2-11) by Frederick Niedner

    John had prepared the way Jesus would traverse, though not in the manner the Baptizer may have thought.

  77. Cemetery Picnic (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7) by Stephen Paul Bouman

    In the eating and drinking the church becomes the eucharistic presence of Christ in the world.

  78. Chariot of Fire (2 Kg. 2:1-12) by Martin B. Copenhaver

    Seeing the master go, made it clear that now it was up to Elisha.

  79. Chasing Jesus (Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-2) by William H. Lamar. IV

    e employ human terms to communicate who God is, and here is God in human form among us in Jesus Christ.

  80. Checkmate (Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14; Rev.:4b-8; Ps. 93; Jn. 18:33-37) by John C. Morris

    Pilate and all the other tyrants who have come after him for 20 centuries challenge Jesus and his way of living and dying. Some of the challengers think that they have come up with a new move to get the best of the champion. But they never will.

  81. Childish Behavior (I Th. 2:1-8) by James Howell

    Paul said, "We were gentle among you." (RVS) James Howell points out the word could be translated as "infants," and he writes a commentary on the possibilities of this.

  82. Christ For The World (Is. 7:10-16; Ps. 80:1-7, 17-19; Rom. 1:1-7; Matt. 1:18-25) by Ruth A. Meyers

    God shares the experience of terror and death and answers not in the language of hatred and rejection, but in giving us the Word made flesh, God with us.

  83. Christ is Not as We Are (Matt. 17:1-9) by Fred B. Craddock

    Not all Christology fits the contours of our lives, not all Christology can be consumed without remainder in moral examples and ethical preachments. While Christ is as we are, and therefore will help, Matthew’s Christophanies remind us that he is not as we are, and therefore can help.

  84. Christ is Risen (Matthew 28: 1-10) by T.V. Philip

    We have no scientific evidence or rational proof that Jesus is risen from the dead. But the church exists because of the Easter event. Because Jesus is risen, he has become not only our judge in whose presence all of our life is an open book, but also the source of our forgiveness, our healing and our wholeness.

  85. Christ-haunted Landscape (Lev. 19:1-2,15-18) by Bruce Modahl

    Leviticus reveals a God who is Wholly Other.

  86. Christian Spirituality (1 Corinthians 1:18-25) by T.V. Philip

    Christian spirituality is liberation, it is freedom. It is freedom to participate in the suffering of God for the world. It is suffering love. In Jesus we are liberated from self-seeking to share in the agony and pain of others.

  87. Clay Pots (Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23) by Bill O'Brien

    Disconnectedness is the greatest threat to our spiritual security, both in the here and now and in the hereafter. Paul was the embodiment of a "living sacrifice" as he shared Godís reconnecting love with peoples all across the Greco-Roman world.

  88. Clean Sweep (Luke 15:1-10) by Jennifer E. Copeland

    Lost sheep and coins are parts of a whole, the search is a quest for restoration and wholeness. Thus, all of us are part of Godís creation and should be just as anxious as God until the lost are restored and are made whole.

  89. Close Call (Genesis 22:1-14) by Melinda Bresee Hinners

    The author believes that the Abraham-Isaac scripture comes to us not only to demonstrate how very arduous it is to have a true, abiding faith in God, but also to paint for us the magnificence of the Creatorís grace in our lives.

  90. Clothed With Compassion (Acts 9:36-43) by Heidi A. Peterson

    In Godís new world order, it is possible to be a widow and prosperous rather than poor. It is possible to be self-possessed rather than powerless. It is possible to be an agent of ministry instead of an object of ministry.

  91. Come on Down (Ex. 34:29-35; Lk 9:28-36) by William Willimon

    A major clergy killer is the gap between our momentary but stirring mountaintop visions of the kingdom of God and the grubby sociological reality of the church in the valley. How do we keep at it?

  92. Come Unto Me (Matthew 11:25-30) by T.V. Philip

    Jesus thanks the Father for revealing to the simple and unlearned what has been hidden from the wise and the learned.

  93. Coming Into Focus (Jn. 15:25-27; 16:4b-15; Acts 2:1-21) by Bill O'Brien

    The disciples were suddenly alone, and felt afraid and forsaken. Jesus was to have been the conquering messiah with an "In your face, Rome" attitude. What went wrong? More important, where would the disciples go now.

  94. Confirming Erick (Hebrews 5:1-10) by Stephen Paul Bouman

    We are ordained and baptized for the tragic moments of history Ė a priestly ministry of liturgy, articulation, peacemaking, programs of comfort and renewal justice-seeking -- and a ministry of word and sacraments that embraces other faith journeys and a world hungry for a communal story.

  95. Consorting with Aliens (Luke 24:13-35; 1 Peter 1: 17-23) by Edgardo Antonio Colón-Emeric

    There are difficulties in recognizing and knowing Jesus. He is often noticed only as a stranger, an alien. Perhaps alien isnít such an ugly word.

  96. Continuing in Sin (Rom. 6:1; Matt. 10:34, 38) by Ronald Goetz

    How a cynic might delight in our liturgies that come stocked with prayers of confession.

  97. Coping in Jesus’ Absence (Jn. 9:1-41) by Fred B. Craddock

    A relationship to God does not remove one from but often places one in the line of fire.

  98. Counting Diamonds (Mark 9:30-37) by Joel Marcus

    Jesus goes beyond simply providing a model of charity, such as those who rescue abandoned babies. He also links acceptance of them with acceptance of himself.

  99. Couples (Mark 10:2-16) by Andrew Warner

    Theologically, Christians must wonder why the only couples legally living under Jesusí proscription against divorce are same-sex couples.

  100. Course Correction (Jeremiah 31:7-14) by Barbara Sholis

    The poetic imagery of Jeremiah invites us to sit with this textís recurring dance of reversal and triumph. In it we rediscover one of scriptureís principal themes: the story of Godís grace and compassion triumphing over Godís judgment.

  101. Cousin Thomas (John 20: 19-31) by Suzanne Guthrie

    Thomasís caution makes him a more credible witness. Furthermore, after the invitation to touch the wounds of Jesus, he penetrates even beyond the superficial excitement of the moment.

  102. Cover-ups (Psalm 85) by Fleming Rutledge

    Advent is a time for uncovering, for facing up to various cover-ups.

  103. Crying Shame (John 20:19-31) by Craig Barnes

    Nothing is more crippling to our souls than working at hiding shame. We think we are keeping the world out, but in fact we are keeping ourselves locked in. It doesnít matter what you do, or how hard you try -- you are never going to have a better past.

  104. Crying Shame (John 20:19-31) by Craig Barnes

    Nothing is more crippling to our souls than working at hiding shame. We think we are keeping the world out, but in fact we are keeping ourselves locked in. It doesnít matter what you do, or how hard you try -- you are never going to have a better past.

  105. Damn Preacher (Lk 6:17-26) by William Willimon

    Preachers are always saying, "Bless, bless, bless" when they ought to be saying. "Damn! Damn! Damn!"

  106. Dancing the Decalogue ( Ex. 20:1-17) by Thomas G. Long

    Regarding the Alabama judge carrying from place to place a two and three quarter ton monument of the ten commandments, it seems the ethical demands of that document have become burdens, weights and heavy obligations to him and to many.

  107. Dangling Gospel (Mark 16:1-8) by Thomas G. Long

    The author comments on Markís gospel ending and what his intention might have been in the suggested shorter version. What might we make of the various possible endings?

  108. Dazzling Darkness (Lk. 9:28-36) by Barbara Brown Taylor

    Jesus, like Moses before him, was about to set God’s people free, only it was not bondage to pharaoh they needed freeing from this time. It was bondage to their own fear of sin and death, which crippled them far worse than leg chains ever had.

  109. Deafness: Physical and Spiritual (Mark 7:34) by Lawton Posey

    Physical deafness and spiritual deafness are alike; Jesus confronted one type in the man born deaf, the other type in the Pharisees and others who were dulled to his message. The writer shares out of his own experience some of the insights he has gained about both kinds of impairment.

  110. Decisions (Joshua 24:1-2, 14-Th; John 6:56-69) by Heidi Husted

    It all starts when God says, "I will be your God; you will be my people." Israel doesnít apply for the job; itís God who takes the initiative. God chooses. But then the chosen are challenged: "Choose this day whom you will serve."

  111. Defining Moment (Matt. 16:21-28) by Deanna Langle

    If we stop pursuing justice, peace, healing and wholeness for our lives and for our world, we become supporters of that which we oppose.

  112. Defining Moment (Ps. 36:5-10; Is. 62:1-5; John 2:1-11) by Jack Good

    At the marriage in Cana Jesus shows that the destruction of carefully laid out plans can be changed by unexpected circumstances.

  113. Dinner Reservations (Matt. 21:33-46) by Roger Lovette

    The vineyard, left to us by God, is to be tended and made productive. His gift was luxuriant, creative and beautiful. How have we tended this garden God has given us?

  114. Discerning What is Right (I Kg. 3:5-12; Rom. 8:28-30; Mt. 13:44-52) by Luke Timothy Johnson

    The academic language of distancing analysis and explanation also serves to obfuscate the clear moral dimensions of life and the need to choose between right and wrong. On some issues, analysis and explanation are themselves a form of collusion.

  115. Disturbing the Peace (Luke 12:49-56) by Teresa Berger

    The text confronts stark and conflicting sayings of Jesus that sit poorly with contemporary images of God. Nevertheless, This gospel lesson calls us to witness to the good news and to the crisis that is Godís consuming and compelling presence.

  116. Do Not Lose Heart (Luke 18:1-8) by Mark Harris

    Justice alone is cold and calculating. The heart gives justice some breadth of emotional engagement, some passion. And the heart of God, whose preference is for all of us in our mortality and our various poverties, hears our cry for vindication and comes close by, speedily.

  117. Dog Tale (Galatians 6:7-16) by Samuel Wells

    With Paul, we only have the right for one boast, and that is for the Love of God as displayed on the cross.

  118. Dogging Jesus (Matthew 15:21-28) by Peter S. Hawkins

    Jesus loses the argument and changes his mind 180 degrees as he learns something new and different through the remarks of a pagan. Whatís more itís from a pushy woman who is dogging his track.

  119. Doing the Right Thing (Is. 66:10-14; Ps. 66; Gal. 6:1-6, 7-16; Lk. 10:1-11, 16-20) by Mary W. Anderson

    We do right when we understand our differences as gifts of God and not devices of the devil. We do the right thing when we publicly acknowledge that left to ourselves we can do nothing right. We do right when we keep Christ in the center.

  120. Don't be Ridiculous (Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58) by John Ortberg

    The fullness of the Spirit comes only when we are emptied of all the ego and self preoccupation that promises so much and delivers so little; emptied of all that is foolish and dying and ridiculous.

  121. Donkey Fetchers (Mark 11:1-11) by Thomas G. Long

    As Jesus was about to descend the Mount of Olives to enter Jerusalem, Mark reports, he dispatched two of his disciples to fetch a colt. A seemingly minor matter of transportation it would seem, but surprisingly, over half of Markís story of Jesusí entry into the city is occupied with mundane details about acquiring this animal -- where to go to find it, what kind of colt to seek, what to do, what to say.

  122. Dose of Forgiveness by Debra Farrington

    God says, "You are forgiven." What are we to make of that?

  123. Drawing All to Himself (John 12:32) by William Willimon

    Alas, we would strip the body off the cross, embalm it and cover it with cosmetics, render the cross in bronze, polish it, make it triumphant and clean.

  124. Dreams and Letting God Be God (Isa. 7:10-17) by Lamin Sanneh

    Dreams have fallen on hard times in our jaded world. We should be grateful that a previous age preserved their legacy in Scripture.

  125. Dress Code (Matthew 22:1-14) by Gracia Grindal

    What is the appropriate dress for a special occasion? Scripture tells us that our own righteousness is as filthy rags, so we understand that only God has the appropriate wardrobe for us.

  126. Dust and Ashes by Bruce van Voorst

    The author reviews a book about the perplexing book of Job. †The book concludes that questions about the world, human existence, and God necessarily remain open.

  127. Dying to Live (Rom. 6:1b-11; Matt. 10:24-39) by Bill O'Brien

    The author asks: what is more tragic than to be dead spiritually, yet be acting as if we were alive?

  128. Easter (Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Lk.24:13-35) by Debbie Blue

    Appearing to two nobodies going no where is an interesting choice when you think of all the other possibilities for the debut of the risen Lord.

  129. Easy Affirmations (Luke 4:1-13) by Hal W. LeMert Jr.

    If we test for what we know or envision, then the god we discover will be only the size of our certainties, and as dead as our faith. Resurrection invites us into the mystery of creation and into the presence of the living God. In that place, even death itself is not a certainty.

  130. Eavesdropping (Mic. 6:1-8;I Cor. 1:18-31;Matt. 5:1-12; Ps. 15) by Barbara Lemmel

    Eavesdropping on others as a way of getting operating instructions from God.

  131. Empty Tomb, Empty Talk (Luke 24:1-12) by Thomas G. Long

    It is somewhat reassuring to realize that the first Christian sermon ever preached did not register high on the Richter scale. When the women came back from the cemetery on Easter morning, they brought with them word of an empty tomb and astonishing news: "He is not here but has risen!" All Christian preaching begins here,

  132. Encore (Jn. 21:1-19) by James C. Somerville

    Having heard the invitation to follow so long ago, we need to hear it again, and then to act.

  133. Enter Here (Acts 2:42-47,1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10) by Amy B. Hunter

    The rapturous beginnings and sufferings mean nothing if we havenít entered by the right door. For Christians the door is the person of Jesus Christ.

  134. Escape From the Tomb (Jn. 20:1-18) by Barbara Brown Taylor

    After the resurrection, every time he came to his friends they became stronger, wiser, kinder, more daring. Every time he came to them, they became more like him.

  135. Essential Question (John 6:56-69) by Cynthia M. Campbell

    Cynthia Campbell defends each generationís scholarship in searching for the real Jesus providing the search is accompanied by the Holy Spirit.

  136. Excellence Beyond Standards (Is.25:6-9; Phil.4:4-13; Mt.22:1-10) by Delores S. Williams

    The parables of Jesus demonstrate that sometimes we may be forced to change our standards to make traditions more accessible.

  137. Exposed and Waiting (Ps. 146; Is. 35:1-10; James 5:7-10; Matt. 11:2-11) by Rosalind Brown

    In Advent, dare we risk exploring the meaning of our longing for God?

  138. Extra Credit (Mark 12:28-34) by Robin R. Meyers

    Jesus finds himself in the middle of a kind of theological cross-examination free-for-all. Priests, scribes, elders and other assorted defenders of the letter of the law are swarming all over him in a frenzy of entrapment.

  139. Eye of the Needle (I Tim. 6:6-19; Lk. 16:19-31) by John Rollefson

    Weíre not to be haughty or set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches hut instead rely on our richly provident God.

  140. Facing Fear (Genesis 21:8-12; Matthew 10:26-30) by Melinda Bresee Hinners

    Through Godís graciousness, both Sarah and Hagar are blessed despite the fear they face -- Ishmael does become the father of a nation, and lo and behold, Abraham becomes the progenitor of both Jews and Arabs.

  141. Facing Up To Inequalities by Harlan Beckley

    The author reviews four books which offer theological, ethical and empirical reasons to be indignant about persistent domestic and global poverty and inequality.

  142. Faith on Idle (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13) by Michael Battle

    We are to address the bored and idle among us by gently fostering hope. This demands that we not rush to alleviate boredom, but that we negotiate true desire over hopelessness.

  143. Family Feuds (Genesis 25:19-34; Romans 8:1-11) by Verity A. Jones

    Without the grace of Christ, who makes Godís reconciliation a reality despite human sin, the devastation of relationships might get the best of us.

  144. Fanning The Flames (Acts 5:17-42) by Heidi A. Peterson

    The death of Jesus only yielded three days of calm before the disciples came out of hiding claiming that he was raised to new life. By Pentecost the flames were beginning to roar. As the high priestís frustration escalated, so did his attempts to deter Jesusí disciples from teaching, healing and preaching.

  145. Fire in the Dark (Acts 2:1-21) by Mark Harris

    Too much cheerfulness is displayed at many celebrations of the Pentecost. It is time to take Pentecost back from the celebrants of exuberant but easy triumph.

  146. Fit for the Reign of God (I Kings 19:19-21; Luke 9:57-62; Gal. 5:1, 13-25) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    Every Christian struggles with the tensions of pragmatism and vision. But there is no one-time solution.

  147. Fleeing Before Herod (Matt. 4:12-13) by Fred B. Craddock

    That Jesus can and does identify with the uprooted, the pursued, the victim, is in itself an encouraging and redeeming word. In Jesus, God has identified with those who suffer violence and with the homeless, those who have no place to lay their heads (Matt. 8:20).

  148. Flipping the World on Its Head (Acts 17:6; I Pet. 2:91) by Ronald Goetz

    Even a persecuted Christianity had a humanizing impact on the culture at large.

  149. Flocking Together (John 10:1-10) by Edgardo Antonio Colón-Emeric

    The flock that Jesus so lovingly describes in the Gospel of John is the same flock that is divided today, for when modern Christians cannot even agree on the date of Easter, it seems that something has gone terribly wrong.

  150. Floods (Matthew 5:45) by Ronald Goetz

    We must confess that, by and large, we Christians prefer flood control -- Godís love tamed, so that we can have his blessings within the framework of the order we have created.

  151. Foolhardy Faith (Ps.66:7-18;John 14:15-21;Acts 17:22-31;I Pet.3:13-22) by Michael W. Spangler

    The author remembers meeting a woman in Russia who was not ashamed to be a fool for Christ's sake.

  152. Foolish Belonging (1 Corinthians 1:10-18) by Lillian Daniel

    The news that some mainline Protestants have decided to recognize one anotherís communion table means little to those who sit in our pluralistic pews. Theyíve been bouncing around in their own private ecumenical movements for years, attending a wedding here and a baptism there. They have a growing sense that denominational divisions are a thing of the past.

  153. Foolish Wisdom by James M. Wall

    Dr. Wall examines the meaning of I Corinthians 4:10: "we are fools for Christ's sake."

  154. Foot Washing and Last Things (John 13:1-20) by Robert H. Herhold

    An eschatology without ethics is futuristic and irrelevant. Ethics without an eschatology is desperate and futile. But joined together, they can produce the power to wash feet and sustain Peterís rebuke; to live fully today because God is in the present as well as in the tomorrow, and to work for the impossible because with God all things are finally possible.

  155. For Grown-ups (Isa.52:7-10;John 1:1-14) by Fleming Rutledge

    Here is a message for grown-ups at Christmas that is an essential part of the feast.

  156. For the Sake of Ten (Gen. 18:24) by Kosuke Koyama

    The good efect of the righteous, though they are a minority, must have healing power in the community.

  157. Forgiven and Forgiving (Matt. 18:21-35) by Susan Pendelton Jones

    The parable of the unforgiving servant reminds us that to receive forgiveness, we must ourselves be forgiving.

  158. Forming Students Through the Bible by Frederick Niedner

    Our varied approaches to scripture, our theories about depth versus breadth of coverage, and our work and worry over students with vastly different degrees and kinds of formation donít matter nearly so much as the ways we practice and embody the virtues of a faithful lover or a religious reader.

  159. Fostering Family (Romans 8:12-25) by Rachel M. Srubas

    The redemption of the body of Christ surely calls for the timely and literal adoption of every child who is waiting to be wanted, accepted and loved, be the adopting couple straight or gay.

  160. Fresh Evidence (Lk. 24:36b-48) by Kristen Bargeron Grant

    After Easter, the disciples witnesses to the victory of God -- not expert witness, just witnesses -- witnessing to the risen Christ within them. We too are to witness to the risen Christ within us.

  161. From a God We Hardly Knew (Isa. 9:6) by William Willimon

    In the Christmas event, God confounds our claims of self-sufficiency and our self-image as generous givers by putting us on the receiving end of Godís love.

  162. From God, to God (Ephesians 2:1-10) by Fred B. Craddock

    What does it mean to become a Christian? The text of Ephesians answers: You have been created again as Godís masterpiece for two purposes: to show what God can do through Jesus Christ, and to serve human need, engaging in good works which reflect the nature of God as gracious love.

  163. From Wrath to Grace (Zeph. 1: 7,12-18; Ps. 90:1-12;I Thess. 5:1-11; Matt. 25:14-30). by Bruce Modahl

    God took upon God's self the wrath deserved by humankind.

  164. Gaining One's Soul (Luke 21:5-19) by F. Dean Lueking

    Our calling now and always is not to sugarcoat the gospel as entertaining diversion from a writhing world but as the power from God for sharing in its convulsions as people of indestructible hope.

  165. Gasping For Air (Isaiah 1: 10-18) by Michael Battle

    Instead of perpetuating a world of violence, Isaiah proposes a vision that demands a reality that requires peacemaking: doing good, seeking justice, rescuing the oppressed, defending the orphan and pleading for the widow.

  166. Gate-crashing God (Ps. 72; Is. 11:1-10; Rom. 15:4-13; Matt. 3:1-12) by Rosalind Brown

    There are no boundaries to Advent hope, because there are no boundaries to God.

  167. General Principles by J. Mary Luti

    The Pharisee has kept a precise record of his religious temperature and informs God of every change in degree.

  168. Get Out of Here! (I Cor. 15:1-11; Lk. 5:1-11) by William Willimon

    We who so often feel powerless over the elusiveness of language, the scarcity of natural resources, the horror of world hunger, are thrilled to witness the unveiled, magical power of Jesus.

  169. Glorious Promises (Is. 62:1-5; Jn. 2:1-11) by Frederick Niedner

    Like Jesusí life and work, our marriages share in the same irony -- the full weight and glory of each appears only when death comes to part the bride and groom.

  170. Go Out in Joy (Ps. 96; Is 9:2-7; Titus 2:11-14; Lk. 2:1-20) by Rosalind Brown

    As always, God takes us by surprise.

  171. God in a Pocket (Jer. 23:23-29; Ps. 82; Heb. 11:29-12:2; Lk. 12:49-56) by Martha P. Sterne

    Nobody likes prophets; there are other, more soothing, more entertaining voices uttering less demanding words. These are the voices of dreams, claiming to speak the will of God but not holding the dreams up to the light of the promise; few people ask if the dreams speak to love of neighbor. Instead they listen to voices of blame raised against whoever is not the listener and voices of painless solutions saying peace when there is no peace, but only cheap grace.

  172. God Is Not Mocked?" (Rom. 3:8) by Ronald Goetz

    Maybe the only comfort we the comfortable can legitimately embrace lies in the realization that God cannot be forever mocked -- that his grace will not forever endure ridicule, that the mockery of easy American Christianity will not endure forever.

  173. God on the Loose (Ps. 29; Mt. 3:1-17) by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

    The voice of God can be heard outside the protective walls of the church -- but you might not like what you hear.

  174. God So Loved (John 3:17) by William Willimon

    In the midst of our trivial moralizing, our scolding, supererogation, and scrambling for a few penitential brownie points, John reminds us of why we’re here. We are on the way of the cross not because of what we have done or left undone but because of what God has done.

  175. God Spoke These Words (Exodus 20:1-17) by Samuel Wells

    The world is divided into the poor and the rich, those who long for freedom, and those who have freedom but donít know what to do with it; those who long for God to come and bring justice, and those who fear that he just might.

  176. God While God Is Near (Is. 55:6-9; Phil.1:1-5, 19-27; Mt. 20:1-16) by Luke Timothy Johnson

    Paul shows what the prophet Isaiah has in mind about "seeking the Lord while he is near." The interests of my neighbor are always near: But like the prophet and parable, he also reveals how far these thoughts are from being ours.

  177. God’s Gift of Righteousness (Jer. 31:32) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    Unlike the gods and goddesses of the other nations and unlike the philosopher’s vision of a transcendent goodness, the God of Abraham has taken a stake in human affairs.

  178. God’s Plan to Kill Jesus (Acts 2:23) by Ronald Goetz

    It was God’s eternal plan to make us what he himself is.

  179. God's Entrance (2 Sam. 7:1-16; Luke 1:26-38) by Fleming Rutledge

    The Christmas story raises this fundamental questions: Did God act?

  180. Godís Arms (Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15) by Michael Lindvall

    When we suffer together, God becomes present to us in the arm of the other resting upon our shoulders.

  181. Godís Choice (James 2:1-17; Mark 7:24-37) by Stephen Fowl

    Analysis of an apparent contradiction between these two passages of scripture, indicating a "wicked sense of humor on someoneís part."

  182. Going Against the Stream by William Willimon

    The world wants Christmas jingles and the church sings a lament! The world has visions of sugar plums dancing in its head and the church sees only angry Jews standing by the fence, wailing toward heaven: We Americans are doing better, better and better. And the old church had better get in step or it shall be left behind as our joyous parade of happy, successful, progressive, positive people moves upward, upward and ever onward.

  183. Good Company (Gen. 11:1-9; Jn. 14:8-17) by Eliott Wright

    Trying to get to God, the people of Babel ended up being scattered, for they had separated themselves from the people around them.

  184. Good Shepherds (Ezekiel 34:11-16, 2022) by Talitha Arnold

    "Good Shepherd" to us means what we seen in a stained glass window, but in this country Good Shepherds come in all sizes, shapes, ages and colors -- Men in jeans, boys in cowboy hats, a Navajo with lamb in hand keeping it from the coyotes Ė to Ezekiel, all are images of God.

  185. Gospel Sound Track (John 12:1-8) by Thomas G. Long

    John is convinced that life is double-plotted, that ordinary events unfold around us but that hidden among all the mundane props are signs of the eternal .

  186. Grace Unliminted (Romans 11:32) by Ronald Goetz

    Itís this standing in grace. Itís this having no other way to account for where one is. Itís this sense of having been held and fed and loved, as a child is loved, that drives us, as it certainly drove Paul, to a sense of grace universal.

  187. Grand Introductions (Isaiah 49:1-7; John 1:29-42) by Lillian Daniel

    When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Talk about a grand introduction! What could Jesus have felt in that moment?

  188. Gratitude for Everything (Eph. 5:20) by Ronald Goetz

    Our very struggle with Paulís injunction to give thanks for everything has its redemptive benefits.

  189. Groping in Darkness (I John 1:1-2:2) by Craig A. Satterlee

    Walking in the light of loving behavior often appears to others as groping in the darkness.

  190. Growing Pains (I Sam. 2:18-20; Ps. 148; Col. 3:12-17; Lk. 2:41-52) by Herbert O'Driscoll

    Jesus is 12 years old and has been separated from his parents in a huge city. He has an encounter that changes him forever, teaching him self-awareness and, above all, knowledge of the One whom he will always think of as a loving Father.

  191. Guest List (Lk. 14:1, 7-14; Heb. 13:1-8, 15-16) by Bruce Wollenberg

    The way to entertain strangers is to invite everybody, all the nobodies, the transgressors of class boundaries. Donít lower you standards, have none Ė all of them angels Ė sent by God. Simple acts and words can be a welcome, civilizing social lubricant.

  192. Halo Effect (Is.60:1-6; Ps. 72:1-7, 10-14; Eph. 3:1-12; Matt. 2:1-12) by James Alison

    Epiphany, the feast of the shining, is here and we are expected to walk in his radiance as he guides us into the way of peace.

  193. Have a Happy Day (Lk. 23:28) by William Willimon

    For someone to be simultaneously atheistic and optimistic strikes us as the dumbest of all possible attitudes. How can we have it both ways except through the most exaggerated effort at ignorance? For roosters, optimism comes easily.

  194. He Had Compassion (Luke 10:31-33) by Kosuke Koyama

    The parable is not concerned about the conflict between the principle of good and evil. It is a story neither of fatalism nor of retribution. It suggests no philosophical system. It confronts us irresistibly, disturbing our conscience and urging us toward an ethic of social responsibility.

  195. He Is Not Here (Mk 16: 1-8) by Fred B. Craddock

    Mark did not need an appearance of the risen Christ to affirm his faith in the resurrection.

  196. He Is Risen (Mark 16: 1-8) by Samuel Wells

    Easter is the Christian Genesis: death and despair displaced by life and hope.

  197. Healed, Not Cured (2 Kg. 5:1-14; Ps. 30; Mk. 1:40-45) by Debra Farrington

    We may or may not be cured by engaging and wrestling with God, but we will be healed. The difficulty is that engagement is hard work, and the vulnerability it requires is terrifying.

  198. Hearing God’s Blessing (Matt. 5:1-12) by Fred B. Craddock

    God’s favor is granted to those whom society regards as the ones left behind: the poor in spirit, the meek, the mourners, the merciful, those hungering for justice, the purehearted, the makers of peace, those mistreated for the cause of justice.

  199. Heart of the Matter by Patricia Farris

    The transfiguration helps us see beyond Jesus of Nazareth, radically transformed into the Son of God, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, fully human and fully divine.

  200. Hearts Sing (Is. 9:1-4; Psalm 27:1, 4-9;1 Cor. 1:10-18; Matt. 4:12-23) by Kathleen Norris

    Division is so much a part of human experience that we are often divided against ourselves. Paul seems to assume that the Corinthians will always have their differences, but he wants them to see that it is only the unity found in Christ that matters.

  201. Heavenly Minded (Luke 18: 9-14; 2 Timothy 4; 6-8, 16-18) by Michael Battle

    What is heaven like? -- uninhibited presence with God.

  202. Hello and Goodbye (Easter) by Harry A. Freebairn

    "The post-Easter blahs that most churches face": Freebairn sees Easter as a process. Two of Jesus’ followers meet a stranger on the road and their hearts are strangely warmed in an hour of empty coldness. Then they began the task that changed this world.

  203. Here be Dragons (Acts 11:1-18; Ps. 148; Rev.21:1-6; Jn. 13:31-35) by J. Nelson Kraybill

    There is no way the disciples could imagine that, in the death and resurrection of the one they called Lord, God would defeat Leviathan?

  204. Heresy, Diversity and Grace (Eph. 4:1-16) by Ronald Goetz

    We can never be certain that we are not among the false prophets.

  205. Hitting the Road (1 Corinthians 12:4-13; Acts 2:1-11) by Suzanne Guthrie

    Knowing you may die intensifies the mission. You risk, you love, you speak. How many of us, when facing death, have felt more fully alive than at other times in life?

  206. Holding Promises (Luke 2:22-40) by John Stendahl

    As Simeon held the future in his arms, so we also have children now briefly intrusted to our arms for blessing and who will, we hope, live on after us.

  207. Holiness: Baptism (Mark 1:9-15) by David F. Wells

    This is what baptism is: God places a song in your heart. Your godparentsí role is to learn that song so well that they can sing it back to you when you forget how it goes.

  208. Holiness: Sacrifice (Mark 8:31-38) by David F. Wells

    If we want to be Jesusí followers, we need to face both the public pain of humiliation and physical agony, and the private grief of losing our precious selves in order to be conformed to Christ.

  209. Holiness: Simplicity (Matt. 6:1-6, 16-21) by David F. Wells

    The disciple who can fast, who can depend on God for sustenance for a whole day or two, will not be easy prey to purveyors of instant gratification and immediate solutions, or to advertising, which dominates the contemporary world, with its promise of rapid -- and empty -- reward.

  210. Holy Fishes (Is.11;1-10; Rom. 15;4-13; Matt. 3:1-12) by Frederick Niedner

    We love to dream of the promised land. In Advent, however, we tread the wilderness, out where fiery John induces nightmares. In the wilderness, prepare a way! God has raised up children from stones. Swim along, singing!

  211. Holy Hate (Jeremiah 23:1-6; Luke 23:33-43) by Michael A. King

    Too much of our times are drowning in mutual holy hateó"Youíre wrong, but Iím right." But even "you and I" need to pray a variation of what he whom they mocked cried out: "Father, also forgive me; for I do not know what I am doing."

  212. Holy Heartburn (Acts 2:14a,36-41;Ps.116:1-3,10-17;I Per.1:17-23;Lk. 24:13-35) by Susan R. Andrews

    Faith, the author reminds us, is a matter of the heart.

  213. Home Court Disadvantage (Jer. 1:4-10; 1 Cor. 13:1-13; Lk. 4:21-30) by Frederick Niedner

    Of all the prophets ever slain in Israel, America or anywhere else, God raised this one, this healer of gentiles and friend of sinners, so we might know that God has forgiven everything, and continues to do so even today.

  214. Homeward Bound (Jn. 1-110-18; Jer. 31:7-14) by Christine Pohl

    The imminence of death has a way of making things clear -- the uncertainties of life, the importance of love, the startling discontinuities and continuities between this life and eternity.

  215. Hooked on War (Ps. 23; Jn. 10:11-18) by Andrew Warner

    To keep our heads clear of the narcotic of war, we must cultivate an alternative power, an alternative source of meaning. Good Shepherd Sunday may be the time to recall that we derive our identity not from the prestige of our country but from the presence of our Lord.

  216. Hopeful Grieving (I Th. 4:13-18) by James Howell

    Mourning elicits courageous, hopeful engagement, so be busy grieving and working on solid ground, not 17,000 feet in the air.

  217. Hospitality Theology (Gen. 18:1-10a; Col. 1:15-28; Lk. 10:38-42) by Mary W. Anderson

    Hospitality is vital not because of the food shared but because of the word shared.

  218. How Do We Live with Dying? Job 19:23-27a, II Thess. 2:13-3:5, Luke 20:27-28) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    We cannot corrupt the memory of those faithful servants of God like Paul whose suffering is part of a witness to the gospel.

  219. Human Folly on a Grand Scale (Amos 6:4; I Tim. 6:9) by Lamin Sanneh

    A display of the sinful excesses of the age upon the environment.

  220. Hungry For More (Ex. 16:2-4,9-15; Jn. 6:24-35) by H. Stephen Shoemaker

    God feeds our deepest hunger with the bread of life, therefore we are to do his will.

  221. I Am Jesus, Whom You Persecute (Acts 9:1-9) by Kosuke Koyama

    An unexpected halt is a religious experience if it occasions a discontinuity in one’s identity. Discontinuity, whether spiritual or physical, presents a crisis, a moment of truth. Is not this what religion is essentially about?

  222. ID Check (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23) by Cynthia M. Campbell

    To the writer, the important question, in a religiously diverse culture, is how does one maintain Christian identity and integrity? The answer is found in Jesus: love God and neighbor.

  223. Idol Behavior (Acts 17:22-31; 1 Peter 3:13-22) by Jenny Williams

    Too much like the Athenians, we want to engage God only as a concept, not as a God-man who lays a claim upon our lives.

  224. If You Give a Feast, Invite the Poor (Luke 14:7-14) by Kosuke Koyama

    But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:7-14]

  225. Imagine Being Brilliant (Genesis 2:15-17; Matthew 4:1-11) by Christien Coon

    MIT requires all students take the swim test. The Rev. Christian Coon compares a studentís question: "Why is this test necessary?" with the same question we might ask of Jesus and his temptation in the wilderness.

  226. Imagining Christ (Ezek. 34:11-16,20-24; Ps. 95:1-7a; Eph. 1:15-23; Mat. 25:31-46) by Kathleen Norris

    If we are to find Christ in others we must exercise our imaginations.

  227. In Praise of Ignorance (Mark 13:31) by Ronald Goetz

    How can Christians speak of about the purposes of God -- hence, in some way, God's nature -- when we have no knowledge of the divine timetable. The miraculous wonder of what we have been gifted to comprehend drives us to admit that we know nothing.

  228. In Praise of the First Coming (Mark 13:1-8) by Robin R. Meyers

    Hope is the one thing for which there is no acceptable alternative. The most difficult thing about faith is how much faith it requires.

  229. In the Know (James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-88) by Stephen Fowl

    Jamesí persistence and how it demonstrates the power to transform us and thereby our speech through the work of the Spirit.

  230. In-Your-Face Preaching (Luke 17:5-10) by Mark Harris

    The reign of God is a reign of compassion in which we are to participate.

  231. It's in the Details (Lk. 19:28-40; Ps. 118:1-2, 19-29) by Craig Barnes

    Jesus ignored the details of life, yet the best news is that once weíve learned to look for Jesus, weíll find him in every detail of life.

  232. Jacob's Ladder (Hebrews 1:1-4; 5-12) by Stephen Paul Bouman

    One must fathom the mystery of death and resurrection in facing the trauma inflicted upon those who worked the edges of the New York abyss at ground zero.

  233. Jeremiah’s Barbs (Jer. 31:31-34) by Ronald Goetz

    It’s a sobering thought -- as surrogate parents, you and I are about as good as Jesus, on balance, is likely to find. If the love of God cannot be advanced through such as we, it is not likely ever to be advanced. It is time for us to grow out of our juvenile, neurotic absorption with our frailties and begin assuming our roles as God’s earthly parents.

  234. Jesus Appears (Acts 2:14a,22-32;Ps.16;I Pet.1:3-9;John 20:19-31) by Susan R. Andrews

    It is the nature of Jesus--and of God--to keep showing up when and where we do not expect him.

  235. Jesus Had Compassion On Them (Matthew 14: 13-21) by T.V. Philip

    Jesus had compassion on the crowed for they were hungry and thirsty. This is the immediate context of the feeding of the five thousand. It is not a demonstration of Christís miraculous power. He was not a magician or wonder worker. The feeding of the people was the natural outcome of his compassion.

  236. Jesus Math (Matthew 18:21-31) by In-Yong Lee

    Itís difficult for mortals to forgive totally but Jesus did. Mortals often fail, but to God all things are possible.

  237. Jesus Talks (Exodus 17:1-7; Romans, 5:1-11; John 4:5-42) by Barbara Brown Taylor

    Why does Jesus a Jew, choose a woman--a Samaritan woman whom the Jews hated, a woman who had had many husbands, a prostitute living in sin, an outcastóas the first to receive the message as to who he really is?

  238. Jesus the Priest (Hebrews 5:5-10) by Fred B. Craddock

    A priest must not only be of God but also of the people. He must become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, tested through suffering in order to help those being tested, and Jesus is so qualified.

  239. Jesus The True Vine (John 15: 1-6) by T.V. Philip

    All the synoptic gospels record that Jesus spoke of Israel as Godís vineyard. The parables make it clear that God cared for his vineyard and how disappointed he was that it didnít produce the expected fruit. In the fourth gospel, Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches.

  240. Jesus’ Death: A Way of Finding (Heb. 12:2) by Ronald Goetz

    We prefer the gentle Jesus, but how can we ignore that side of Jesus that is white-hot with righteous rage and impatience over the sinfulness and unbelief of the world? Indeed, in the Gospels the harsh sayings outnumber the gentle ones, but Jesus did not return from the grave casting his threatened wrathful “fire upon the earth.” In the cross, the fire of divine wrath had already fallen. Transposed by the resurrection, the threat of Jesus became a blessing.

  241. Jesusí Final Exam by Martha Greene

    The summary of the law, as simple as it may seem, is actually complex. Jesus ingeniously combined love of God (Deut. 6:5) and neighbor (Lev. 19:18). Jewish scholars had devised other summaries of Torah, but Jesusí summary is unique, and his assertion that the two laws are inseparable is also distinctive.

  242. Joined at the Heart (Ephesians 4:1-16) by Paul Stroble

    Paulís vision is that when Christians are joined together they find strength rather than distress. They will be stronger together because they are together in Christ. Itís when they split up that they get into trouble.

  243. Journey to the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25) by Stanley S. Harakas

    Lent calls us to return to the source of our power: the victory of Christ.

  244. Judas as Patron Saint (Mark 14:21) by Ronald Goetz

    Judas’ attitudes parallel our own. We are so caught within the iron vise of our secular, materialistic, hedonistic perspectives that the God of Jesus is like an illicit mistress or lover whom we, like Judas, kiss in the dark.

  245. Just as I Am (Eph. 2:1-10) by Thomas G. Long

    Dr. Long agonizes between his rejection of petitionary prayer and his need for it in traumatic situations.

  246. Kindly Candor (Ephesians 4:25-5:2) by Paul Stroble

    Speaking is not truthful if it does not also "build up" and "give grace." When we speak truth and love together, we give the riches of Godís grace.

  247. Kingly Presence (Is. 60:1-6; Ps. 72:1-7; 10-14; Eph. 3:1-12; Math. 2:1-12 by Herbert O'Driscoll

    The Magi represent forever for all of us the wisdom that recognizes human life to be a journey taken in search of One who calls us beyond ourselves into faithful service.

  248. Labors of Love (Jn. 5:1-6; Jn. 15:9-17) by Lawrence Wood

    When we get it right, the work of love is hardly work at all.

  249. Lamb of God (Is. 49:1-7; Ps. 40:1-11; 1 Cor. 1:1-9; John 1:29-42) by Kathleen Norris

    Telling the thought in a story is far superior to simply thinking. It is not so much a matter of thinking as doing--and not doing so much as being and witnessing. Just come and see, and we might realize that Jesus came to make us both more holy and more fully human.

  250. Lame Excuse (Isaiah 43:18:25; Mark 2:1-12) by Barbara Crafton

    God sends patient caregivers, dedicated researchers and physicians, devoted family and friends to walk with the ill through their painful journey, whether it be a journey toward cure or a journey toward a fuller life. Such people are sent from God whether they know it or not.

  251. Late-Night Seminar (John 3:-1-17) by Patricia Farris

    We give Nicodemus a bad rap, reducing him to a foil, a cowardly dolt. But Jesus received him as a pilgrim, a sincere religious seeker. In truth, he is the Patron Saint of Seekers, a fellow traveler and a kindred spirit, someone to be embraced.

  252. Lenten Roadmap (Romans 4:13-25) by Fred B. Craddock

    For the one who believes in the God who gives life to the dead, the Lenten journey is not only to Good Friday and Easter, but is also a revisiting of oneís own experience.

  253. Lesson Plan (James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38) by Mary E. Hinkle

    The Son of Man must suffer because he will reject every compromise with the authorities, the crowds, the Romans and even with his own beloved Peter.

  254. Let it Be (Mic. 5:2-5a; Ps. 80:1-7; Heb. 10:5-10; Lk. 1:39-45 [46-55]) by Herbert O'Driscoll

    Many of us have sung our own Magnificat without realizing that what we sing echoes Maryís song.

  255. Let the Imbongis Sing! (Ps. 96; Is. 9:2-7; Titus 2:11-14; Lk. 2:1-20) by Peter Storey

    Whether we look to the liberation of peoples living in lands dark as death, or to that inner liberation that comes by the discipline of grace, we must hear creationís imbongis sing praise as the psalmist commanded, "Glory to God in highest heaven, and on earth peace."

  256. Letting Go Down Here (Rom. 6:3) by William Willimon

    When he spoke of what happened to him on the Damascus Road, Paul never knew whether to call it being born or being killed. In a way, it felt like both at the same time. Whatever it was, it had something to do with letting go.

  257. Life-and-Death Choices (Deut. 30:15-20; Ps. 1; Lk. 14:25-33) by Christine Pohl

    Jesus proposes some very troubling conditions for discipleship. We are asked to "hate" our parents, spouse, children, siblings, even life itself. Jesusí teaching must have surprised and confused the enthusiastic crowd, and quickly thinned out the ranks of his supporters.

  258. Life-Giving Fear by Barbara Brown Taylor

    Terrible things happen, and you are not always to blame. But don’t let that stop you from doing what you are doing.

  259. Life-Giving Law (Psalm 19) by Fred B. Craddock

    Critical self-examination brings two painful revelations of faults: faults that are proud, even arrogant, strutting openly and defiant, in full view of all; and faults buried so deep in the heart that even the transgressor is unaware of them. But God knows. As nothing is hidden from the sun, so nothing is hidden from God.

  260. Limited-Time Offer (Is. 55:1-9; 1 Cor. 10:1-13; Lk. 13:1-9) by A. Katherine Grieb

    Isaiah, Paul and Luke note an ongoing theological tension between the assurance of Godís kindness and the call to immediate repentance. Godís unaccountable mercy provides additional time for repentance. Yet there will be a reckoning, and human presumption can push even Godís patience too far.

  261. Listen to Him (Genesis 12: 1-8, Luke 9: 28-36) by T.V. Philip

    To listen to Jesus, to be a disciple of Jesus, is to walk with Jesus to Golgotha. As we walk with him, as we talk with him, our human nature is being transformed into the likeness of divine nature.

  262. Listen Up (Genesis 2:1-9) by Prince Raney Rivers

    Abramís life was devoid of purpose or passion until he heard the word from the Lord. He needed this call to help him separate from his past and embrace Godís future for his life. He followed that voice to a place he had never seen before.

  263. Live Into Hope (Is. 2:1-5; Rom. 13:11-14; Matt. 24:36-44) by Ruth A. Meyers

    Advent invites us to live in hope and not in despair. The violent death of Jesus on the cross was not the end, for in Jesusí resurrection we are assured of new life. Violence will not have the last word.

  264. Living by the Word (Romans 1:16-17; 3:22b-31) by Tom McGrath

    In the world of power politics, connections are hard-earned and easily lost; in the reign of God, power flows from a connection that is freely offered and must be freely received, for faith is grounded in a relationship, an encounter with the living God, who is the source of true and lasting power in this life.

  265. Living by the Word Matthew 16:13-20 by Karoline M. Lewis

    Being able to confess Jesus as Messiah is a critical thing, but having a sense of what that means is an ongoing process. When confession is only knowledge, then the cross is only death on a tree and the resurrection is only reward.

  266. Living by The Word (1 Corinthians 4:1-5: Matthew 6:24-36) by Tom McGrath

    Contemplation of nature is a reliable remedy for the worries that can paralyze and plague us. When Jesus points us toward the birds of the air or the lilies of the field, he is not just trying to get our minds off our worries; he is pointing us to a way of discerning the larger purposes of God.

  267. Living by the Word (Matt. 14:13-21) by Don C. Richter

    Jesusí miracles are not an in-your-face showcase for divine power. Instead, they herald Jesus' dying and rising, his relinquishment and resurrection. We who die and rise with Christ are lifted up even as we lift others.

  268. Living by the Word (Matt. 14:13-21) by Don C. Richter

    Jesusí miracles are not an in-your-face showcase for divine power. Instead, they herald Jesus' dying and rising, his relinquishment and resurrection. We who die and rise with Christ are lifted up even as we lift others.

  269. Living by the Word (Matthew (13:31-33, 44-49a) by Margaret B. Guenther

    The kingdom of god, the power of God, is like the leaven that works only when combined with flower.It is among us, permeating every aspect of our lives, changing, enlightening and transforming us.

  270. Living by the Word (Matthew 10:40-43) by Evan Drake Howard

    Everything changes when we realize that the only rewards that matter can't be earned. Trying to earn the blessing causes much unhappiness and pathology. Our inner striving becomes insatiable and cannibalizes itself into a black hole of exhaustion.

  271. Living by the Word (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43; Romans 8:12-25) by Margaret B. Guenther

    Both passages suggest that this is a time of waiting, of letting things grow and unfold. But it's also a time of looking forward to some sort of resolution, an end time, in a not-yet time trusting that godís promise will be fulfilled.

  272. Living by the Word (Rom.10:5-15; Matt. 14:22-33) by Don C. Richter

    Through his death and resurrection, Jesus will save the whole creation. For Christians, this is the mystery of baptism, the paradoxical drowning that brings life.

  273. Living by the Word (Rom.10:5-15; Matt. 14:22-33) by Don C. Richter

    Through his death and resurrection, Jesus will save the whole creation. For Christians, this is the mystery of baptism, the paradoxical drowning that brings life.

  274. Living by the Word (Romans 4:13-25; Matthew: 9:9-13, 18-26) by A. Katherine Grieb

    From words about Abraham, "He grew strong in his faith" we learn that faith is not only a gift from God, but also an aptitude that grows with use: we learn how to be faithful in the process of trusting God.

  275. Living by the Word (Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8 -23) by A. Katherine Grieb

    God's extravagant act of mercy toward sinners in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ should inspire hope and confidence in us sinners in all our dealings with God. The cross of Christ reveals that grace toward sinners lies at the very heart of God.

  276. Living by the Word (Romans 6:1b-11) by Evan Drake Howard

    The waters of baptism offer more than explanations. They speak the silent, miraculous language of grace--the language that invites us, in rhythms deeper than words, to be buried, united, freed.

  277. Living by the Word Romans 13:8-14< by Thomas R. Yoder-Neufeld

    The first half of Romans easily subverts our faithfulness to the second half.† If the first half had been subordinated to the second half, the past few years might have been quite different.

  278. Living by the Word: Speak My Word Faithfully (Jer. 23:28) by Kosuke Koyama

    We may quite unconsciously speak a mixture of our own deceits and the word of God.

  279. Living by The Word† Matt. 15: (10-20), by Karoline M. Lewis

    Jesus location far from Galilee and Jerusalem suggests that defilement and purity are not determined by physical, attributable or demonstrative components, but that purity is ultimately assessed by what one says and does.

  280. Living by the Word† Matt. 20:1-16 by Craig Kocher

    In the economy of Godís grace those who are hired at the very end, those whom no one else wants, are the closest to Godís heart. In that economy the last are placed first in line.

  281. Living by the Word† Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32 by Mary W. Anderson

    The questions in the temple are still the questions in our communities. Too many of us believe that God's activity is all past tense, or believe that the Spirit has nothing new to renew in us.

  282. Living by the Word† Rom. 12:9-21 by Thomas R. Yoder-Neufeld

    These verses are a pep talk by Paul to the ďbody of Christ.Ē †Remember who you are and who got you where you are and who is the source of your strength.

  283. Living by the Word† Rom. 14:1-12 by Craig Kocher

    The goal of being together in the body of Christ is not to agree or get along. The hope is to help one another become more Christlike, to love God and neighbor in ever more praising ways.

  284. Living on Tiptoe (Lk. 2:22-40; Ps. 148) by Christine Pohl

    Simeon and the Annas invite reflection on whether what we know of the story of Godís redemption shapes our lives in ways that keep us open and attentive to Godís presence and present work.

  285. Living Sacrifice (Hebrews 10: 11-18) by T.V. Philip

    Jesus has universalized the worship of God and has moved away from the central place given to temples made with hands. While the Jewish high priest enters the earthly sanctuary in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ the high priest has entered the heavenly one -- a temple made without hands.

  286. Living with Martha (Luke 10:38-42) by Stephanie Frey

    Jesus as host gives consent for troubled people to be filled with promise. We are to join them and be ready to put our whole selves to serve.

  287. Living y the Word† Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46 by Mary W. Anderson

    Christians are to encourage one another in faithful stewardship, challenged by the idea that we are stewards of much and owners of nothing.

  288. Long Division (Acts 1:6-14 .John 17:1-11) by Scott Bader-Saye

    We seem to have become complacent about our denominational and racial divisions. The pain of Christian division is rarely felt by any of us.

  289. Long Goodbye (John 17:20-26; Acts 16:16-34) by Amanda Wright

    John thought that it was important to remind those who had never met Jesus in the flesh that Jesus was still present, but in a new way.

  290. Looking Like Fools (I Cor. 1-23) by William Willimon

    The first Christians were thought to be drunk with new wine, and Festus thought Paul’s defense of the faith merited a court-ordered psychiatric examination. By the world’s standards of what works, and who is greatest, and what is practical, the Christian faith can look foolish indeed.

  291. Love’s Double Victory (Jn. 3:1-5, 10; Mk. 1:14-20) by Susan B. W. Johnson

    Much of the training in nonviolent change consists of self-purification and the cleansing of hatred from the heart of those who would change the hearts of others.

  292. Macro-Mystery (Matthew 28: 16-20) by Maureen Dallison Kemeza

    Some speculations of cosmologists come tantalizingly close to being religious.. We know by our faith that the triune God is how the world came to be, the energy that keeps it going, and the future toward which it -- and we -- move.

  293. Makeshift Communities (Is. 9:1-4; Ps. 27:1, 4-9;I Cor. 1:10-18; Matt. 4:12-23) by Barbara Lemmel

    Once in a while Christian congregations act like true communities.

  294. Marias Full of Grace (Gen. 12:1-4a; Mt. 17:1-9) by Stephen Paul Bouman

    There are many perils in the travels of life, but out of such darkness Godís glory appears in the midst of our journeys to the cross.

  295. Mark: The Movie (Mark 10:32-45) by Stacey Elizabeth Simpson

    Mark 10:32-45 summarizes all the major themes of Markís Gospel. In a nutshell, it offers everything that is quintessential Mark: the journey toward the cross, suffering and death, wrongheaded disciples, the reversal of power and Jesusí reflection upon the meaning of his mission. For Mark, this is the guts of the gospel: that we follow a suffering Christ, a crucified criminal.

  296. Marked for a Purpose (Is. 42:1-9; Acts 10:34-43; Matt. 3:13-17) by Kathleen Norris

    In our baptism, we celebrate the incomparable gift we receive as creatures who are beloved of God. Baptism is also about the responsibility this gift requires.

  297. Mary and the Body Snatchers (John 20:13b-15a) by Ronald Goetz

    As Christ surprised Mary in the garden, he may also surprise us in the routine of the liturgy, the lections and hymns, perhaps even in the preaching.

  298. Mary as Role Model (Luke 1:26-38) by Byron L. Rohrig

    Neither Catholic nor Protestant tradition and practice have done Mary justice. Her story reminds us that the oddest, most inglorious moments are packed with the annunciation of God’s presence and God’s call to serve.

  299. Mary Says Yes (Luke 1:26-38; Luke 1:47-55) by John Stendahl

    In the annunciation God waits in breathless suspense for Maryís answer Ė and for ours.

  300. Mary’s Song -- and Ours (Lk. 1:39-55) by James F. Kay

    Mary’s song sticks in our throats. But perhaps it can become our song.

  301. Maryís Hope and Our Hope (Luke 1:30-31) by Nancy D. Becker

    Something deep and universal in the human person needs hope in order to live, and many things in our society masquerade as hope but are not.

  302. Material Things (Mark 10:17-31) by Andrew Warner

    We define ourselves by our belongings, by our consumption. However, the materialism Jesus calls us to requires not the accumulation of material goods, but an engagement with people, especially those in need.

  303. Matters of the Heart (Mark 7.1-8, 14-15, 21-23) by Heidi Husted

    Jesus takes issue with those whose spiritual focus is on the surface, who are concerned solely with outward actions. He is perturbed by those who have reduced religion to doing the "right things," to looking good, to maintaining outward appearances.

  304. Maundy Thursday: Thomas’s Testimony (Luke 22:15) by J. Barrie Shepherd

    A narrative of a Lenten meditation in poetic form written from the standpoint of the apostle Thomas: And if it were not for his love, his grace that sought me out behind locked doors, called me to touch and then believe, I would not be here at your humble table ready now with you, to break the bread and pour the wine as he did years ago.

  305. May God Continue to Bless Us (Ps. 67) by Kosuke Koyama

    Nature surrounds us and we are a part of it. Yet we have a spiritual quality that transcends the dictates of nature. This quality must constantly be nurtured to avoid falling into a variety of idolatries.

  306. Measure of Faith (2 Tim. 1-14; Lk. 17; 5-10) by Bernard E. Rollin

    The biblical meaning of faith cannot be reduced to individualistic voluntarism. Faith is the miracle of God-given trust, that willingness beyond willfulness that says, "Whoever I am thou knowest, O God, I am thine."

  307. Measure of Faith (2 Timothy 1-14; Luke 17; 5-10) by John Rollefson

    The biblical meaning of faith cannot be reduced to individualistic voluntarism. Faith is the miracle of God-given trust, that willingness beyond willfulness that says, "Whoever I am thou knowest, O God, I am thine."

  308. Mercy, Me (Is. 40:1-11; 2 Pet. 3:8-15a; Mk. 1:1-8) by Kathleen Norris

    In the violence and hatred weíve made of our world, can mercy really be at the heart of God? There is room for Godís mercy if we will only believe that Godís patience is salvation for us all.

  309. Messianic Complex (John 1:6-8, 19-28) by John Stendahl

    As did John, Jesus points away from himself and seeks to deflect the messianic expectations put upon him. Trying to evade his superstar status and the attributions ofí glory, he points instead to what is near and soon and already stirring in the lives of those to whom he speaks.

  310. Midwifeís Tale (Exodus 1:8-210; Matthew 16:13-20) by Cynthia A. Jarvis

    Christ is pulling us out of darkness into light that we might be a witness to that light.

  311. Miracle Market (2 Kings 5:1-14, Mark 1:40-45) by Barbara Crafton

    We set the evidentiary bar so high for a miracle of healing that a dozen miracles happen to us and we donít notice any of them.

  312. Miracle Worker (Mark 6: 1-6) by Jim Callahan

    The mystery of the incarnation holds our greatest solace and comfort, namely that wherever we go in suffering, in hurt and sorrow and despair, God has gone there first, goes with us, shows up (!), and is glad to be there with us and for us. It is amazing that the first great heresy in the church was not the denial of Christís divinity, but the denial of his full humanity.

  313. Miracles of Inclusion (Eph. 2:14) by Ronald Goetz

    Every model of inclusivity entails specific convictions -- which will exclude somebody.

  314. Missing the Point (Matthew 21:33-46) by Gracia Grindal

    Jesus tells the story of the owner of the vineyard to show that his listeners, members of the religious establishment of his time, have missed the point. The story is breathtakingly clear. Those who "get it" have to do away with him. They mock him, deride him and finally kill him.

  315. Missing the Resurrection (Acts 1:15-17, 22-26; Ps. 1; 1 John 5:9-13; Jn. 17:6-19) by John Killinger

    The early church was quick to build a case against Judas. What would have happened if Judas had repented, recanted and re-joined the twelve?

  316. Monastic Mentors (Luke 20:27-35) by Roberta C. Bondi

    One ought not be intimidated by the judgmentalism of religious people for it has very little of God in it. Jesus gets out of the Saccucess trick question by quoting Exodus: "ÖGod is not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all alive to him."

  317. More than Enough by Samuel Wells

    The key to the politics of love, the key to that limitless imagination that sees only abundance, that desires only the things that are not in short supply -- that key lies in worship.

  318. More Than Enough (John 6:1-21) by Charles Hoffman

    Charles Hoffman shows that to John, religion is not melancholy, but full of Godís grace mediated through Christ. Godís grace is more prodigal than it is miserly.

  319. Mousetraps (2 Sam. 11:26-12:10, 13-15; Lk.7:36-8:3) by Peter S. Hawkins

    Forgiven much, this woman loves much more than good taste allows.

  320. Move On (I Sam. 16:1-13; Ps.23; Eph. 5:8-14;John 9:1-41) by Scott McKnight

    The author criticizes the tendency of Americans to gloat in triumph over its victories. He is saddened when Christians pick up a new sword of Constantine, a wicked instrument of triumphalism.

  321. Muddling Through (II Kings) by J. Mary Luti

    Most of the time, the ragged human convoy of divergent perceptions, piqued honor, high-minded posturing, insecurity, good humor and basic generosity will wend its way to insight and accomplishment.

  322. Mutant Ministry (Jonah 3;1-5; I Cor. 7:29-31; Ps. 62-5-12) by Paul Keim

    Jonah, Prophet of the Lord, may or may not have accepted the counterintuitive morality so prevalent throughout the Bible. Samaritans can be good neighbors; stutterers can be lawgivers; theophanies are likely to be encountered in the still, small voice; and not even Nineveh is beyond Godís compassion.

  323. NamaanĎs No-nonsense Cure (2 Kings 5: 1-14) by Peter S. Hawkins

    The situation is bizarre: a hostile pagan king asks an impossible favor for his generalissimo, thereby setting the stage for disappointment and what might well be the next political disaster. Jesus plays with the politics implicit in the story, making good use of the perennial tensions between Jew and gentile, us and them.

  324. Name that Fear (Luke 8:26-39) by Samuel Wells

    The name "Legion" of the man from Gerasa is key to the story. Itís about Rome whose legions possessed Israel. This story is a coded identification of Jesus the liberator.

  325. Naming and the Act of Faith (II Tim. 1:5) by Lamin Sanneh

    Paul suggests to Timothy that remembering his ancestors increases his faith, and more: it is a warrant for recognizing faith.

  326. Naming Names (Is. 43:1-7; Lk. 3:15-17, 21-22) by Jack Good

    Those who know that they are owned by God recognize that their primary identity is not as cogs in the economic machine, for their baptism has taught them who they are and whose they are.

  327. New and Old Together (Gen. 1:1-5; Mk. 1:4-11) by David L. Bartlett

    Jesusí baptism is tied to a history that leads back from John the Baptist to Isaiah to the first words of Genesis. Our new life is bound to those who prepared us for faith, and through them to the history of the church, to the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to the affirmations and promises of the "First Testament" and to Godís kindness in creating the universe.

  328. New Math (Matthew 18:21-35) by Gracia Grindal

    "Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times." This is strange language to us. We have mainlined grace so cheaply that we no longer understand the disconnect in our own spiritual lives.

  329. Night Music (Zeph. 3:14-20; Is. 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18) by Herbert O'Driscoll

    The greatest songs often come out of a generation facing pain and suffering. Observing Zephaniah, Isaiah and Paul, it is salutary to look at the extraordinary music generated through the difficulties faced by these great men.

  330. No Comparison (Is. 49:21-31; Ps. 147:1-11) by Paul Keim

    By worshiping its way to renewal and hope, the community of faith has something to offer a world full of weariness, faintness, powerlessness and despair.

  331. No Joke (Acts 4:32-3.5, Jn. 20.19-31) by Kristen Bargeron Grant

    After the resurrection, Jesus is in the room with the disciples. Jesus says a most ordinary but absurd thing -- "Peace be with you." Is this a joke in their fear and guilt? The words are neither a salutation nor an attempt at ironic humor, but the fulfillment of a promise.

  332. No Keeping Score (Gen. 45:3-11,15; Ps. 37:1-12, 41-42; I Cor. 15:35-38,42-50; Lk. 6:27-38) by Phyllis Kersten

    We cannot tell someone who has suffered a great evil at the hands of others that God is bringing good out of the tragedy. If it is going to happen at all, the victims must discover for themselves that God has somehow created something new out of their suffering, that out of their survival Godís grace can even provide food to save someone else from famine.

  333. No Time to Linger (John 20: 1-18) by Suzanne Guthrie

    Faithful to the unknown and unknowable, love not only transfigures the lover, but calls her by name:

  334. No Turning Back (Ps 27; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 13:31-35) by Jennifer M. Ginn

    Though we often donít "stand firm" as Paul admonishes the Philippian believers to do, we long for Jesus to reach out and draw us to him in spite of ourselves.

  335. No Way Out (Luke 16:19-31) by Mark Harris

    If our hearts are closed to hearing the cry for justice, mercy and bread, the words of the resurrected One will not be convincing, but convicting.

  336. Not Through the Law (Gal. 2:15-21) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    A theology of grace does not negate the law, but it seeks to transform those aspects of human relationships which the law cannot touch and which may even make law a vehicle for hatred and sin.

  337. Now What? (Acts 4:32-35; Ps.133; 1 Jn.1:1-2:2; Jn. 20:19-31) by Stanley S. Harakas

    Here is the agenda for the post-Easter journey -- joy and peace, mission and forgiveness, faith and proclamation, love and life.

  338. Obedience in Context (Ezek.33:7-9; Rom.13:1-10; Mt.18:15-20) by Luke Timothy Johnson

    How is our obedience to God mediated or intersected by loyalty to institutions and to our friends?

  339. Obedience to the Heavenly Vision (Acts 26: 9-20; Philippians 3: 3-14) by T.V. Philip

    The life of Paul was an adventure of exploring the meaning of Christ for the Jews as well as for the Gentiles.

  340. Off By Nine Miles (Isaiah 60:1-7; Matthew 2:1-12) by Walter Brueggemann

    Bethlehem is nine miles south of Jerusalem. The wise men had a long intellectual history of erudition and a long-term practice of mastery. But they had missed their goal by nine miles. It is mind-boggling to think how the story might have gone had Herodís interpreters not remembered Micah 2.

  341. Off the Mountain (Ex. 34:29-35; Ps. 99; 2 Cor. 3:12-4:2; Lk. 9:28-43) by Phyllis Kersten

    The disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration not only saw a vision; they also heard Godís voice coming out of the cloud, saying, "This is my child, my Chosen; listen to him." I hear that voice, too, when members of the church hear and heed those things Christ has said: Love one another. Forgive, as God has forgiven you. Follow me.

  342. Off the Record (Luke 13:10-17) by Teresa Berger

    In a world that continues to "bend" womenís lives, we must follow Jesus in claiming that the lives of women are sacred, and that women are invited to be healed and flourish in the presence of the Holy One.

  343. On a Wild and Windy Mountain (Heb. 11:17) by William Willimon

    No stranger to the ways of the real God, Abraham would know that a mad, disordered, barbaric age needs more than a faith with no claim but that its god can be served without cost.

  344. On Being a Survivor (Mark 10:45) by William Willimon

    Should civilization’s survival be our only issue in the nuclear age? As Jesus walked down a road to a place of the skull, survival was definitely not the issue.

  345. On Godís Case (Luke 11:1-13) by Stephanie Frey

    In Holy conversation with God we make known our needs, we learn to pray for the essential requirements and recognize Godís generous gifts providing our day to day necessities.

  346. On the Wild Side (Is. 43:16-21) by Craig Barnes

    Yes, said Isaiah, they were being judged for their sins and the judgment was severe. But that was not Godís ultimate purpose in sending the Babylonians to drag the Hebrews away. The real purpose was to call them to a deeper understanding of the covenant.

  347. On Your Mark (Mk 1:1-8, 2 Peter 3:8-15, Is.40:1-11, Ps. 5:1-2, 8-13) by John Stendahl

    To be at a beginning is to find that we are not prisoners of the past. We can always begin again.

  348. One Plot at a Time (Luke 2:5-19) by Roberta C. Bondi

    Before the end-times, world problems will multiply. Problems in our times are climactic heralding the predictions of end-times. But Jesus indicated that no one knows when the end will appear.

  349. Open Paths (2 Sam. 7:1-11, 16; Lk. 1:47-55; Lk. 1:26-88) by Kathleen Norris

    The annunciation of the good news to Mary makes it clear that she was able to sing her song because she had listened well and said yes to God. We can trust that even in this violent, unjust and despairing world, Godís word of hope is true.

  350. Opening Out (Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Phil. 1:3-11) by Herbert O'Driscoll

    "He must increase but I must decrease." If we had heard nothing else from Johnís lips, those seven words would assure us that he was no demagogue trumpeting an agenda of the self. Here is a sure way to assess the claims of anyone professing to have a message for us from God.

  351. Our Jewish Problem (Genesis 32:22-30; Romans 9:1-5) by Cynthia A. Jarvis

    The belief that Christians have "superseded" Israel as the chosen of God -- that we have replaced the Jews as the apple of Godís eye, that we are the singular recipients of Godís election -- has led, in the extreme, to the Holocaust. It has also kept the church from an honest examination of its flawed relationship with God.

  352. Parking Lot Palms (Hebrews 5:1-10) by Stephen Paul Bouman

    The early believers grasped on to an image of Jesus as the priest who is in solidarity with humanity at its most vulnerable.

  353. Participating in Revelation (I Kg.19:9-18; Rom.9:1-5; Mt.14:22-33) by Luke Timothy Johnson

    An essential part of Christianity is that the truth is not to be found in denying or escaping the arena of natural and historical activity, but within it.

  354. Party Time (Matt. 22:1-14) by Susan Pendelton Jones

    The author compares the "party" with the golden calf with the parables of the kingdom that describe a great party that God throws for the elect.

  355. Paschal Light (Acts 10:34-43; Cor. 15:1-11; Jn. 20:1-18 or Mk. 16:1-8) by Stanley S. Harakas

    The world that is overcome by darkness and death is itself overcome by the light of Christ.

  356. Paul Almighty (2 Cor. 12:2-10, Mk. 6:1-13) by Joanna Adams

    Our prayers will be answered, in Godís own time and Godís own way, and when they are, I hope we wonít brag about it, but rather be humbly grateful and give the glory to God Almighty.

  357. Penetrating the Darkness (John 1:9-13) by Ronald Goetz

    An Advent meditation in which Goetz explores the abstract and paradoxical account of the advent of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of John.

  358. Pent-Up Power (Jer. 33:14-16, Ps. 25:1-10, 1 Thess. 3:9-13, Lk. 21:25-36.) by Herbert O'Driscoll

    Confinement can bring into being a bursting-out into wide expanses, can send the mind and the heart on journeys toward the most distant horizons.

  359. Pentecost for the World (Romans 8:22-27) by F. Dean Lueking

    Now that Pentecost has come, the primal divine command to have dominion over creation requires the church to get on with good stewardship of the earth. We do so not to the neglect of the gospel, but because we believe it and act upon it.

  360. Petitionary Prayer Reconsidered (Phil. 1:6) by Carroll E. Simcox

    It is possible to pray for success in achieving such goals as weight reduction without being blasphemous as long as one understands the appropriate context of prayer. If we are prudent, we will never ask God to do anything for us unless we are prepared to pay the price in our own blood, toil, tears or sweat.

  361. Pharisees Are Us (Mark 7:1-8, 21-23) by John Ortberg

    The only person who has ever been truly free of a messiah complex was the Messiah.

  362. Pick it up, Read it. (Ps. 121;Gen. 12:1-4a; Rom. 4:1-5,13-17; John 3:1-l7) by Richard Lischer

    The meaning of conversion, with the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus as case study.

  363. Picturing a Vanishing (Luke 24:28-31) by Ronald Goetz

    We are so shaped by modern skepticism that we may even be tempted to doubt the certainty of our own experience of Christ when he cannot be produced on command in a narrowly positivistic or rationalistic manner.

  364. Piety and Preparation for New Life (Am.5:18-24; I Th.4:13-18; Mt. 25:1-13.) by Delores S. Williams

    The church at large is not heeding the gravity of the message of the prophets. It cloaks itself in comfort, ignoring the politics of poverty, racism, sexism and homophobia that spreads oppression in the world like a fire out of control. The church thinks its task is to steep itself in spiritual exercises that have nothing to do with justice and righteousness in the world.

  365. Plato was Wrong (Jn. 1-1-9, 10-18) by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

    We know God is out there because the Logos became flesh. Now weíve seen him; now we know.

  366. Pledging Allegiance (Matt. 22:15-22) by Susan Pendelton Jones

    Blessing and sacrifice are closely linked in Christian living.

  367. Power and Delight (Jn. 1:43-51; I Sam. 3:1-10) by Christine Pohl

    Voices from all sides beckon us, but amidst all the noise of competing authorities, the voice of the Lord breaks the heavens open to deliver a word of love.

  368. Power Point (Ephesians 1:15-23) by Mark Harris

    The popular view of the ascension should be changed. If the ascension is understood as not about a direction but instead about the place Jesus occupies in creation and in our hearts, it becomes a powerful counter to the economic and political powers of our day.

  369. Power Source (2 Corinthians 12:2-10) by Daniel Harrell

    We may experience great religious heights, but itís the valleys and deserts that tend to draw us nearest to God.

  370. Practicing Fidelity (Ps. 80:1-7; Is 7:10-17; Rom 1:1-7; Matt. 1:18-25) by Rosalind Brown

    Times of silence of questioning are the prelude to new works of God in our lives.

  371. Pray as You Can (Rom. 8:26-39; Matt. 13:31-33, 44-52) by Rachel M. Srubas

    The Rev. Rachel Srubas confesses she does not know fully how to pray as she ought. She trusts that the Spirit, who deeply sighs where words leave off, intercedes for her -- and for us, and for "all creation." And that is enough.

  372. Prayer for Christian Unity (Ephesians 1: 9-10) by T.V. Philip

    From the foundation of the world, God had a plan and purpose for his creation. It was kept secret, but now he was pleased to reveal it to us in Jesus Christ. It is about the unity of all things.

  373. Prayer from Gethsemane (Mk. 14:36) by Ronald Goetz

    Who is Jesus? He is God become man. How can we say so radical a thing? It is because through his humanity, we are able to see the fullness of his majesty -- a majesty so sure that it can serve and die and still be the source of life.

  374. Preaching to Deaf Ears (Ezek. 2:1-5) by Margaret B. Hess

    How is what you say shaped by whether or not you are heard or valued in the hearing?

  375. Prepare The Way of the Lord (Isaiah 40: 1-11, Mark: 1:1-8) by T.V. Philip

    Awaiting with expectation and preparing to receive the Lord are two important aspects of the Advent season. We must prepare a straight path for the Lord, removing all obstacles which stand in the Lordís way preventing him from coming. All the crooked ways in our life, in the life of our society need to be straightened out. Every mountain and hill should be brought low and every valley be lifted up.

  376. Pressed into Service (2 Corinthians 8:7-15) by Daniel Harrell

    Perhaps there are times when we need to be more aggressive than merely asking Christians to give. Sometimes a bit of Paulís persuasiveness is needed.

  377. Prodded to Life (Is. 11:1-10; Ps. 72:1-7, 18-19; Rom. 15:4-13; Matt. 3:1-12) by James Alison

    Current articles and subscriptions information can be found at This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

  378. Profit and Loss (Amos 8:4-7; Luke 16:1-13) by Christine Pohl

    Jesus teaches that those who are faithful in little are faithful in much, and those who are dishonest with earthly resources will be untrustworthy with more significant responsibilities. The small details matter.

  379. Promise Keeper (Genesis 18:1-15) by Prince Raney Rivers

    Stock analysts were endorsing corporations even though they knew that the corporations would soon crumble into bankruptcy. Who can you trust? We can trust God. Our confidence rests in knowing that the promises God makes to us are connected to Godís presence with us.

  380. Proof of God (Matt. 17:1-9; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Ex. 24:12-18) by Christien Coon

    Music can inspire glimpses of glory, the proof of the existence of God. The author gives illustrations of how music can make this happen.

  381. Protest March (Mk 11:1-11) by Fred B. Craddock

    Before the empty tomb, the disciples did not comprehend the words of Jesus, but rather were divisive in competition for seats of favor in the coming kingdom. But thereafter, they remembered and they understood, they regrouped and were faithful in continuing the work of Jesus, even in the face of opposition as strong as any Jesus himself had to endure.

  382. Proud to be Humble by Ronald Goetz

    Christians must never be taken in by worldly attacks on humility -- not only for our souls’ sakes, but for the sake of the world itself. A prideful Christian is perhaps the world’s most dangerous citizen.

  383. Provoked to Repentance (Eph. 2:1-10; Jn. 3:14-21) by Stanley S. Harakas

    Belief in the saving and redeeming work of Jesus Christ, in his incarnation and his teaching, guiding and redemptive ministries is the sine qua non of salvation.

  384. Punctured by James Alison

    He who is coming will not preside over us. He will teach us how to make peace from within and to learn how to make it possible, so that we will be saved from our own self-destruction.

  385. Rachel Weeping (Matthew 2:13-23) by Frederick Niedner

    In the midst of our celebrations we also listen to Rachelís lament because today her children and her neighborsí children are still dying with their hands on each otherís throats in blind rage over disagreements as old as her own jealousy of Leah.

  386. Rare Sightings (Is. 42:1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-43; Matt. 3:13-17) by Barbara Lemmel

    The writer shares an epiphany experience.

  387. Reading Acts (Acts 2:42-47) by William Brosend

    They held all things in common. Despite the fear of being called communist, the reality is, thatís what they didóthey shared all things in common. It was as radical as that.

  388. Reading Romans by Luke Timothy Johnson

    A book review of Robert Jewettís massive volume on Romans (1250 pp.). Jewett sees Paulís concern with the individual rather than the group, and not with faith/works but with Jew/gentile. Romans is unlike the other Pauline writings.

  389. Reading the Signs (Is. 7:10-16; Ps. 80:1-7, 17-19; Rom. 1:1-7; Matt. 1:18-25) by James Alison

    We celebrate the coming of the power that is confident enough to be vulnerable, indeed, confident enough to be vulnerable to us.

  390. Ready for Prime Time (Lk. 3:1-6) by James F. Kay

    Since Christianity has been such a civilizing success, it is doubly hard for us to return to the time when Christianity’s message was primed in the wilderness. But now this "prime time" has come again. As our exile looms, and marginality becomes our reality, is there any word from God? Any word for those streaming back into the wilderness?

  391. Ready for Revolution (Matthew 3:13-17) by Brad Ronnell Braxton

    The means by which John and Jesus meet their deaths should convince even the most hardened skeptics of the revolutionary nature of their ministries.

  392. Ready or Not (Matthew 27:55-61) by Suzanne Guthrie

    Both Marys and many others were there near the tomb watching from a distance. The writer suspects many people live their spiritual lives from a distance, in a threshold of silence, having not seen, yet believing.

  393. Reality Show (Mk. 9:2-9) by Thomas G. Long

    The abrupt appearance of a soaring mountain in the transformation story is an invitation to scale its heights with Peter, James and John so that we too can see what we cannot see in the valley.

  394. Refinerís Fire (Zep. 3:14-20; Is. 12:2-6; Phil. 4:4-7; Lk. 3:7-18) by John C. Morris

    Too many Christmas songs are "warm fuzzies." If the Baptizer can be described as a killjoy, it is because the joy that he kills is the false joy of manufactured sentimentality and superficial jolliness.

  395. Reflections on the Lectionary (Col. 3:1-4; Matt. 28:1-10) by Frederick Niedner

    All debts and sins and our unfinished businesses are dumped in the graveyard. What we bury there never comes back, but he does, not to judge but to forgive.

  396. Regeneration (Psalm 51) by David F. Wells

    What is the problem and what is the solution? Psalm 51 does not offer popular answers: The problem is sin. The solution is repentance.

  397. Reluctant Prophet (Lk. 4:14-21; 1 Cor. 12:12-31a) by Jack Good

    Prophetic ministry is most effective when it is engaged reluctantly, when itís difficult and even frightening, and when the speaker is compelled by a power that will not be denied.

  398. Remembering Who We Are (Psalm 8) by Stacey Elizabeth Simpson

    Who are we? We are at the same time entirely insignificant in the context of all creation and of utter importance to the God who created it all.

  399. Remorse and Hope (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Matt. 6:1-6, 16-21) by Susan B. W. Johnson

    The readings for Ash Wednesday leave us with conflicting admonitions: to put on sackcloth and ashes, and to wash our faces and comb our hair.

  400. Repeat Offenders (Romans 1:16-17) by Maureen Dallison Kemeza

    All are sinners -- how did we forget this? It is not the offices we occupy or the structures of power that govern our common life that save us. It is God who saves, and God will save.

  401. Repent, Then Obey (Jer. 31:31-34; Ps.; 51:1-12; Ps. 119:9-16; Heb. 5:5-10) by Stanley S. Harakas

    Neither repentance nor obedience is very high on the American scale of values. A culture that exalts individualism, self-affirmation, independence and assertiveness has a hard time digesting repentance and obedience.

  402. Representatives and Partners (2 Sam.7:8-16; Lk.1:26-38) by Delores S. Williams

    Christian loves demands that we become involved in the political processes and social movements advocating the elimination of poverty through the economic restructuring of our society? This means Christians working for and advocating the redistribution of goods and services so that poor people can experience a positive, productive quality of life.

  403. Resurrected Hopes (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:6-11) by Craig Barnes

    In the times we most need to worship, we find it most difficult.

  404. Risk and Fulfillment (Is. 63:7-9; Ps. 148; Heb.2:10-18; Matt. 2:13-23) by James Alison

    Although Christmastide is a time of praise, we must no forget the whole narrative is beset by dangeróby risk, flight, conspiracy, treachery and violent rage.

  405. Risky Business (Prov. 25:6-7; Ps. 112; Heb. 13:1-8, 15-16; Lk. 14:1, 7-14) by Christine Pohl

    It is not the fragility of goodness that stands out in these texts but the sturdiness of righteousness.

  406. Road Trip (Luke 24: 13-35) by Amy B. Hunter

    The story of the road to Emmaus is not about Cleopas and his companion and their disappointment, but about life, the universe and everything in it.

  407. Roll Call (Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69) by John Ortberg

    Few texts are more subversive than Paulís words at the end of his letter to the Ephesians.

  408. Royalty Stoops (Matt.25:31-46) by Fleming Rutledge

    God, who is terrible in glory, stoops to our need.

  409. Rub Poor Lil' Judasís Head (Revelation 21:10-11; 22:5; Is. 26:21) by Delores S. Williams

    Some of my African-American slave ancestors tried to leave me and my people a message about compassion that defies what many of us want to hear. We do not want judgment to equal compassion and compassion to equal judgment in our relation to those who have so seriously sinned against us.

  410. Sail On (Mk. 4:35-41; 2 Cor. 6:1-13) by Bill O'Brien

    The experience the disciples had with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee preceded the cross, the resurrection and Pentecost. No wonder they asked themselves who this man was -- this man who could rebuke the wind.

  411. Saints and Sinners (Mark 12:28-34) by Mary W. Anderson

    As we remember the strong shoulders of the saints on which we stand, we are challenged to strengthen our own shoulders.

  412. Saints in the Making (All Saints Day) by F. Dean Lueking

    This is the standard New Testament designation for saints: the forgiven who know it, act upon it and live by grace without angling for stained-glass-window status.

  413. Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16) by T.V. Philip

    The Christianís task is to be the salt of society, preserving, reconciling, adding taste, giving meaning where there is no meaning, giving hope where there is no hope. We are called to be the light for the world. Jesus Christ is the real light which enlightens everyone.

  414. Saving Saul (Acts 9:1-19) by Heidi A. Peterson

    The lasting mark of conversion is not one date circled in red on the calendar, but the whole story of oneís life.

  415. Savior at Large (John 20:1-18) by Craig Barnes

    No one is ever ready to encounter Easter until he or she has spent time in the dark place where hope cannot be seen. What the Gospels ask is not "Do you believe?" but ĎHave you encountered a risen Christ?"

  416. Savior Like a Shepherd (Ps. 23; 1 Jn. 3:16-24; Jn. 10:1-18) by William Brosend

    How complimentary is it to refer to the members of a church as a flock of sheep, and how appropriate is it to speak of clergy as pastors? Is that Jesusí point in John 10?

  417. Says Who? (Matthew 21:33-46) by Gracia Grindal

    Power always protects itself. Those in religious leadership are just as venal as any in the world. We speak sanctimoniously of peace and unity and shut out those who challenge our authority.

  418. Scandalous Behavior (Luke 7:36-8:3) by Michael Lindvall

    Simon the rebuker is rebuked, while the rebuked woman is named the perfect hostess and is forgiven her sins even though she seems never to have confessed them, at least not in words. Unconditional love has a way of pulling one to grow to be more worthy of it.

  419. Search and Restore (Mark 9:38-50; James 5:13-20) by Stephen Fowl

    Out of the obscurity of these verses in Mark and James, there seems to be the challenge of those on the margins, to be drawn by the generosity of Jesus closer inside the circle of disciples. Believers must not allow each other to wander away.

  420. Seasonís Greetings (Luke 19:28-40) by Thomas G. Long

    When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he did so as a king, but his royalty was not pomp and power but humble obedience. Thus, he entered the city to make peace with the offering of his own life.

  421. Seeing Things (Mark 9:30-37) by Mary E. Hinkle

    Jesus is unimpressed by the disciplesí tidy argument about their need to know who is the greatest. He calls a child to their presence to teach a lesson.

  422. Seeking the Lost Sheep (Ex. 32:7-14;Ps. 51;1-10; 1 Tim. 1:12-17; Lk. 15:1-10) by Martha P. Sterne

    Jesus seems to care inordinately about the ones who aren’t here. This interest in the absent may seem unreasonable to those of us who show up and keep the institutional church humming, but it is the gospel.

  423. Self-Emptying (Philippians 2: 5-8) by T.V. Philip

    vIt was the self-emptying Christ who was the attraction for the Hindus. Jesus emptied his life utterly that he became the transparent medium in which.

  424. Self-Emptying (Philippians 2: 5-8) by T.V. Philip

    It was the self-emptying Christ who was the attraction for the Hindus. Jesus emptied his life utterly that he became the transparent medium through which people can see God.

  425. Send Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) by J. Mary Luti

    Vouchers to beggars -- "not valid for alcohol, lottery tickets or tobacco" --.but what if this stranger wanted to rent The Sound of Music, or tour the city in an air-conditioned bus?

  426. Sent of God to Witness (John 1:19-41) by Fred B. Craddock

    John is portrayed here (John 1:19-4) vastly different from the one we met earlier in the synoptics.

  427. Settling for Less (Lk. 4:1-13) by Barbara Brown Taylor

    When the world did not end as Jesus himself had said it would, his followers stopped expecting so much from God or from themselves. They hung a wooden cross on the wall and settled back into their more or less comfortable routines, remembering their once passionate devotion to God the way they remembered the other enthusiasms of their youth.

  428. Sharing in the Holy Spirit (Gen.1:1-2:4;Ps.8;Matt.28:16-20;2 Cor. 13:11-13) by David L. Beck

    The author tells how two small children helped him to understand the doctrine of the Trinity.

  429. Shattering the Closure of Unbelief (Is. 55:10-11; Rom. 8:18-25; Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23) by Luke Timothy Johnson

    These texts shatter the "structure" of my unbelief, my idolatrous hold on my own interpretation of the world, my own despair at the lack of the worldís possibilities. They say to me: this is not a closed system but one open to its creator, whose possibilities are endless.

  430. Sheep and Shepherds (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56) by H. Stephen Shoemaker

    What's wrong with the title "pastor"?

  431. Sheep on the Run (Psalm 23) by Craig Barnes

    The reason both the psalmist and Jesus spent so much time describing us as lost was not to judge us, but to help us find our salvation. Confessing that we are frightened and lost is the first step.

  432. Sheepish (Psalm 23; John 10:22-30; Revelation 7:13-17) by Mary Schertz

    The trust of the sheep with its shepherd is a radical trust empowering us to believe life has Christian meaning even though immediate experience may seem otherwise.

  433. Shepherding (Jn. 10:11-18) by F. Dean Lueking

    The mission is everywhere, and we must drop the language of home church and mission field.

  434. Showing Up (Matthew 21:23-32) by Roger Lovette

    The Pharisees knew it was easy to say "Lord, Lord," but not so easy to do what God asked. Most of us know the first son did the right thing, but we are more like the second son.

  435. Shrewd Investment (Luke 16:1-13) by Jennifer E. Copeland

    Jesus offers more commentary on how to deal with wealth than on how to handle sex -- a fact ignored by todayís church, which is preoccupied by matters of sex while it says very little about money.

  436. Shriveled Delight (Is. 58:9b-14; Ps. 103:1-8; Heb. 12:18-29; Lk. 13:10-17) by Christine Pohl

    Although comfortable about rescuing a farm animal on the Sabbath, the religious leader has trouble rejoicing when a bound woman is freed. But for Jesus, Isaiah, the woman, and the crowd, the healing of the broken does not distract from delighting in the Sabbath, because it is a way of delighting in God.

  437. Shrubs and Scrubs (Jer. 1 7:5-10; Ps. 1; 1 Cor. 15:12-20; Lk. 6:17-26) by Phyllis Kersten

    What a difference in plants and people when someone tends their needs! Their growth is not stunted. They not only survive but thrive.

  438. Siding with Grace (Romans 11:1-32; Matthew 15:21-28) by Cynthia A. Jarvis

    Would it not be better, in the time of grace in which we still live, to proclaim to all people the good news, to confess and bear witness that Christ died for all, that Christ suffered also for them?

  439. Signs of the King (Ps. 46; Jer 23:1-6; Col.1:11-20; Lk. 23:35-43) by Rosalind Brown

    None of our ideas reflect Godís concept of kingship (human or divine) completely.

  440. Sin Insulation (Ex. 32:7-14; Ps. 51:1-10; 1 Tim. 1:12-17; Lk. 15:1-10) by Christine Pohl

    Godís steadfast love, the basis for Mosesí plea, Davidís hope, and Paulís ministry -- all these are available to each person because Godís abundant mercy continues to find us and make us new.

  441. Sin Is When Life Freezes (I John 1:8) by Dorothy Solle

    Sin means being separated from the ground of life; it means having a disturbed relationship to ourselves, our neighbor, the creation and the human family.

  442. Sin of Scorn (Luke 18:9-14) by Roberta C. Bondi

    Allowing ourselves to experience gratitude to God for the good we can do may truly provide some healing for our scornful souls.

  443. Sin-Talk in Our World (Rom. 3:23-25) by Ronald Goetz

    Acknowledging sin entails the happy assessment that nothing wrong with us is finally beyond forgiveness.

  444. Sins and Sensibilities (Deut. 18:15-20, I Cor. 8:1-13, Mk. 1:21-28) by Mary W. Anderson

    Commentary on Lectionary Texts, Deut. 18:15-20,I Cor. 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28

  445. Sit on It (Judges 4:1-7) by Talitha Arnold

    The lesson we learn from Deborah is the need to "sit." She was a wise, powerful woman who lead, counseled advised, preached, and sometimes just sat in silence.

  446. Slave Wages (Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42) by Bill O'Brien

    If you choose the right one to whom you are a slave, Paul believes rich benefits can be produced. Those who become slaves to God reap the benefit of holiness, the results of which are eternal life.

  447. Small Change (Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44) by Maria Teresa Palmer

    May God forgive us, his churchpeople, for using our social capital to attract to our churches those who are powerful and rich while we ignore those who might seem a burden -- those whose humble worship surely pleases God.

  448. Smoothing the Path (Mal. 3:1-4; Lk. 1:68-79; Phil. 1:3-11; Lk. 3:1-6) by John C. Morris

    Injustice, immorality and inhumanity need to be changed into smooth paths so that everyone will see Godís salvation. That is Godís plan, and it is not wishful thinking to proclaim it.

  449. So Explain It To Me (Prov.8:1-4,22-31;Ps.8;Rom.5:1-5;John 16:12-15) by Mary W. Anderson

    The author argues that the doctrine of the Trinity is a useful unifying tool for witness. It has been called a great hinge, this day of the Trinity. It stands between the two halves of the church year. The first half on the life of Christ, the second half on the life of the church, While some call it a great hinge, others call it a great pain!

  450. So They May See My Glory (John 17:24) by Kosuke Koyama

    From love comes glory, not vice versa. Glory which is not rooted in love tends to be a false glory.

  451. Somebodyís Calling My Name (Is. 43:1-7; Lk. 3:15-22) by Peter Storey

    In scripture, being called by oneís name is a rich gift. Names tell us we are loved and call us into accountability.

  452. Sons of Entitlement (Mark 10:35-45) by Stephen B. Chapman

    Where ambition exists, it can be redirected and purified. But where it is entirely absent, mediocrity takes hold, the status quo hardens, and professors and committees debate endlessly about methodology and procedure.

  453. Soul Food (I Kings 19.4-8; Jn. 6:35, 41-51) by H. Stephen Shoemaker

    Jesus seems to be prefiguring his death with phrases about his "hour" which was to come, and the temple of his body to be destroyed, about the kind of love that leads one to give one's life for a friend and a shepherd to give his life for the sheep.

  454. Speak Up, God (Exodus 33:12-23) by Martha Greene

    Even though God has revealed himself fully in Jesus Christ, there is a sense in which God remains hidden.

  455. Spellbound (Deut. 18:15-20; Ps. 111; 1 Cor. 8:1-23; Mark 1:21-28) by Ray Rhoads

    Jesus challenges us to choose to live free and close to God -- the word of life. This living word from God bestows freedom upon us to live the lives God intends.

  456. Spiritual Snobs (Ps. 95; Jn. 4:5-42) by Scott McKnight

    What the Samaritan woman sees is Jesus the Living Water who summons her from her ageless racisms and divisiveness into eternal life. We do not walk this path of love and righteousness under our own power. The Living Water is reaching out to all in love.

  457. Standing on Promises (Is. 6:1-4,8-11; Ps. 16; I Thes. 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28) by Kathleen Norris

    Are we blessed people, standing in Godís favor when we have devastated Godís creation with war and willful misuse? We hear from a prophet, a psalmist and the writer of an ancient epistle that no matter what befalls us, God is faithful, and Godís promises are true.

  458. Starting Over (Gen. 9:8-17; 1 Pet. 3:18-22; Mk. 1:9-5) by Martin B. Copenhaver

    When we approach the waters of baptism we remember Noah and the flood. Both the flood story and a baptism remind us that we stand in need of Godís cleansing.

  459. Stay and Follow (Ps. 22: 19-28; Lk. 8:26-39) by Mary W. Anderson

    Jesus does not say, "follow me" to every one. Sometimes he says, "Return home and be a witness."

  460. Stay the Course (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5) by Barbara Sholis

    People will be found turning away from solid teaching, filling up on spiritual junk, seeking catchy opinions, turning their backs on truths and chasing mirages. Keep your eye on what youíre doing and keep the Message alive, doing a thorough job as Godís servant.

  461. Stay the Course (Luke 17:11-19) by Barbara Sholis

    The author, diagnosed with breast cancer, sees gratitude as bringing buoyancy, as an antidote for fear. It flips despair on its back and says, "Youíre not robbing me of today!"

  462. Staying Power (Luke 24:36-49; Acts 3:12-19) by William Brosend

    Everyone preaches about an "Emmaus road experience." Nobody preaches about a "stayed-in-Jerusalem-and-waited-to-see-what-happened" experience.

  463. Stepping Out (Matthew 14:22-33) by Amy B. Hunter

    The ground beneath us may be no more substantial than water. The challenge in Peter attempting to walk on the water toward Jesus is that Jesus holds his hand toward each of us grasping us if we should fall.

  464. Sticks and Stones (Ps. 31:1-5; Acts 7:55-60; 1 Ptr. 2:2-10; Jn. 14:1-4) by Scott Bader-Saye

    Though we are tempted to hide behind barricades, guns and bombs, the stories of the martyrs remind us of the one who overcame evil not by defeating the enemy but by loving the enemy and thus defeating death itself.

  465. Still Small Voice (2 Kings 2: 1-2, 6-14; Lk. 9: 51-62) by Peter S. Hawkins

    The story of Elijah and his successor comforts us with the realization that while a good man is hard to find, there is always an Elisha to prove the rule with a glorious exception.

  466. Stirrings of Divinity (Luke 2:41-52) by Peter Storey

    If we struggle with Jesusí being "fully human and fully God," it should not be surprising if the child Jesus wrestled with his identity too.

  467. Storm System (Mark 4:35-41; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13) by Michael A. King

    We may think we cannot endure what the future is thrusting upon us, but when that future arrives we have strength enough to sail in peace even across a sea of troubles.

  468. Story Time (Dt. 26:1-11; Ps. 91:1-2, 9-1-16; Rom. 10:8b-13) by Jennifer M. Ginn

    May the stories of faith refresh us along the way, for they are the word that is near us, on our lips and in our hearts.

  469. Strangers in the Night (Psalm 95; Ex. 17:1-7; Rom. 5:1-11;Jn. 4:5-42) by Richard Lischer

    The author exposes the many ironies in John's account of Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman.

  470. Strength Revealed as Weakness (1 Cor. 8:1-13) by Susan B. W. Johnson

    There’s a deep human tendency to idolize one’s own perspective on the world.

  471. Stretched Hearts (Is.:1-10; Ps. 146:5-10; Lk. 1:47-55; James 5:7-10; Matt. 11:2-11 by James Alison

    .What is it like to be stretched out in a wrathful world in expectation of the arrival of an incommensurable power who is not wrathful?

  472. Suffering and Victory (Mk. 8:31-38; Mk. 9:2-9) by Stanley S. Harakas

    We must learn to see adversity as a sign pointing us toward the fullness of communion.

  473. Summoned (Luke 14:25-33; Philemon 1-21) by Bruce Wollenberg

    Because of Paulís relationship to Philemon, he could have turned his request into a simple command, but Paul uses persuasion rather than the imperial imperative, for Philemon owes Paul his "very self" because he has won him for Christ.

  474. Super Glue (Colossians 1:11-20) by Peter W. Marty

    Jesus Christ is the coherence of creation. He is not only "before all things," but "in him all things hold together." He is the glue that never dies, the bond that never fails, the togetherness of the complex world we inhabit.

  475. Surprise Encounter (Jn. 1:43-51; I Sam. 3:1-10 [11-20]) by Christine Pohl

    Face to face with God catches us by surprise and interrupts our regular patterns and challenges our assumptions.

  476. Surprise Party (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-3) by Thomas G. Long

    If we prodigals see the father running in our direction with open arms, we should know in our souls that this as an event so unexpected, so undeserved, so out of joint with all that life should bring us, that we fall down in awe before this joyful mystery.

  477. System Failure by J. Nelson Kraybill

    The church is not a full realization of the New Jerusalem, but the citizenship of those whose primary loyalty is there, already alive in itís transforming light.

  478. Table Manners by Barbara Brown Taylor

    People saw him eating and they knew who he was: someone who had lost all sense of what was right, who condoned sin by eating with sinners and who might as well have spit in the faces of the good people who raised him.

  479. Take Heed to Yourselves (Luke 21:29-34) by William Willimon

    Ah, to be free from time’s tyranny, measuring time as our ancestors did -- by the gentle passage of seasons, by sunrise and sunset, not by seconds, minutes and hours. But to live as if there will always be a tomorrow is to live like a fool.

  480. Taking the Good News Home (I Cor. 12.12-31a, Lk. 4;14-21) by Frederick Niedner

    Jesusí program continues today.

  481. Taking Up the Cross (Mark 8:31) by William Willimon

    We, like Peter, still find it inordinately difficult to believe that the Christ of Easter is the same Son of man who must suffer, be rejected and killed. Even more than Peter, we resist the notion that the cross is the definition of what it means to follow Jesus.

  482. Tales of Miraculous Healing (Luke 17:19) by Lamin Sanneh

    Nature, for the great 17th-century scientific pioneers was God’s Book, inscribed with holy laws every bit as valid as the laws of the other book, Holy Scripture.

  483. Test Run (Mark 1:9-15) by Fred B. Craddock

    Temptation is deceptive, not obvious, and it definitely is not a caricature. The tempter often looks and sounds like a friend or relative, offering no debauchery often associated with temptation. Personal, social and professional ruin is in the small print at the bottom of the temptation.

  484. Testing That Never Ceases (Matt.4:1-2; 4:3-11; Gen. 3:5; Deut. 8:2; Deut. 34:1-8; Deut. 18:18) by Fred B. Craddock

    It was this serving, suffering, dying Jesus whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead. A church too fond of power, place and claims would do well to walk in his steps.

  485. That They May Be One (John 17:6-19) by F. Dean Lueking

    The apostolic messengers would proclaim one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, in whom all those made new in the Easter Lord are no longer male or female, slave or free, Jew or gentile, but one in Christ Jesus.

  486. The ĎSenseí of Advent (Is.40:9-11; II Pet.3:8-14; Mk.1:1-8) by Delores S. Williams

    Israelís sin was not unlike the sin of which our nation has been guilty: the sin of supporting the wealthy and ignoring the poor.

  487. The Apologetics of Universal Grace (Acts 17:23b; I Pet.3:18b-l9; John 14:17) by Ronald Goetz

    The traditions of both Paul and Peter were driven to say things about the universal implications of Christ’s death that the historical Jesus as a first-century Palestinian Jew would not and could not have imagined.

  488. The Bible Today by C. H. Dodd

    (ENTIRE BOOK) A simple and clear analysis of the nature of the Bible. What is the Bible? How do you approach it? The Old Testament. The New Testament. Revelation. The Bible and the modern historical view. History and the Individual.

  489. The Blame Game (Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30) by Bill O'Brien

    All of us struggle in the battle between good and evil, right and wrong choices, thoughts and actions. Who can see us free? Paul could not answer this question.. All we can say, with Pau,l is "Thanks be to God Ė through Jesus Christ our Lord."

  490. The Call to Downward Mobility (Mk. 10:35-45) by Kenneth L. Carder

    It is easy to assume that relationship with God translates into entitlement.

  491. The Case of the Missing Liver (I Cor. 15:44) by Carroll E. Simcox

    Will we need all our body parts at the resurrection? "I must say that something is terribly missing from the Christianity of anybody who is more concerned about what happens to a liver after death than about what happens to somebody who needs a sound liver while still alive."

  492. The Costliness of Grace (Mark 9:43-48) by Ronald Goetz

    Jesus’ language in all its vigorous overstatement still reflects a sense of divine fury over the failure of the divine purpose to work itself out in the actions of human beings that does not compute with our urbane, 20th-century middle-class liberal Christianity.

  493. The Cup of Death (I Cor. 10 : 16a) by William Willimon

    Without the cross, our faith wouldn’t be a comfort to anybody. What would you say to the terminal cancer victim? The mother of a starving child in an Ethiopian desert? The 80-year-old resident of a shoddy nursing home? “Smile, God Loves You!”

  494. The Discovery Channel (Gen. 15:1-l2, 17-18; Lk. 13:31-35; Phil. 3:17-4:1) by Hal W. LeMert Jr.

    A religious community can pressure us not to think outside the lines of its doctrine. We must, of course, make commitments and honor allegiances. But Paulís experience warns us that even religious commitments can defeat the purposes of God. We must examine all our allegiances for their capacity to distort our integrity.

  495. The Fine Print of Commitment (Ps. 69:ll;l8-20; Jer. 20:7-13; Rom. 6:1b-11, Matt. 10:24-39) by Elizabeth D. Beck

    Commentary on the Lectionary Texts for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

  496. The Freedom of Necessity (Mark 8:31) by Ronald Goetz

    Jesus proves that perfect obedience to God is perfect freedom. Sin is not freedom; it is a malignant pollution of freedom. Sin is death. Sin thereby brings the very possibility of freedom to an end.

  497. The Godís Arenít Angry (Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20;1 Peter 3:13-22) by Kelly Lyn Logue

    We donít have to live as if God is angry with us. The God does not need anything from us. Our baptismal covenant reminds us that to be incorporated into Godís mighty acts of salvation is a gift from God, offered to us without price.

  498. The Godforsaken Messiah (Hebrews 12:2) by Ronald Goetz

    We must testify of the God who willed the cross of Christ, that this selfsame God is love. God has taken up into himself, through the person of his Son, our human outrage. God himself has turned the other cheek. He has not rejected that outrage; he has endured it and has answered it with the risen Christ.

  499. The Gotcha Game (Lk. 20:27-38;Mk. 12:18; Acts 23:8) by F. Dean Lueking

    The Gotcha game still goes on. Every time it does, Christ is crucified anew.

  500. The Hidden Kingdom (Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35) by Suzanne Guthrie

    The season of Easter reconciles times and dimensions, exercising the substance of love within us to see into the reality beyond.

  501. The Highest Knowledge (Matt. 2:10-11) by Ronald Goetz

    The recognition that God was in Christ is both a statement about Godís doing and a summary statement of the whole of human destiny. To say that God was in Christ is to say that it is within the power and promise of God to make us "partakers of the divine nature" (II Pet. 1:4).

  502. The Holy Trinity (John 3: 11-18) by T.V. Philip

    God as Trinity had happened in the experience of the early church before it was formulated into a doctrine. The challenge which the theologians faced was how to express the faith that God is one and at the same time affirm that Jesus Christ was divine, and the Holy Spirit was divine.

  503. The Jericho Affair by Samuel Wells

    The author imagines a committee of congress set up to report on the disquieting events on the Jerusalem-Jericho road and their aftermath: The good Samaritan loses.

  504. The Jesus Diet (Ephesians 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51) by Paul Stroble

    Too often we are exhausted by the busyness of plans and preparations, instead of being exhilarated by enjoying the bread of life.

  505. The Joke Is On Us (Matthew 13:31-33,44-52) by David K. Jaeger

    The careful reader will notice that Matthew casts the religious experts of the day (those robed in canonical or clerical dress) in the role of "them," a move that supports a tongue-in-cheek, foot-in-mouth reading of the disciples when they claim to understand it all.

  506. The Journey Begins (Psalm 32;Genesis 2:15-l7;3:1-7;Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11) by Richard Lischer

    The author discusses Lent as a journey of faith.

  507. The Judas Chromosome (Matthew 26:14-27.10) by Craig Barnes

    Judas portrays the tragic story of a fall from the heights to the depths. It is a fall that all of us will make sooner or later. But the greatest tragedy was that Judas was not at the cross to hear Jesus say, "Father, forgive . . ."

  508. The Justice of God (Matthew 20: 1-16) by T.V. Philip

    In the perspective of the kingdom, those who are powerful and influential will not get more. A society is just only to the extent that the underprivileged, the disabled, the poor and the oppressed receive special care.

  509. The Justification of God (Rom. 5:8-9) by Ronald Goetz

    Our sense of the inevitability of suffering compels us to affirm dimensions in the cross of Jesus that Paul might not have found.

  510. The Kingdom of God Belongs to the Poor by T.V. Philip

    The wealthy and the mighty of this world trust in their wealth and influence. The poor are favored in the kingdom not only because injustice is done to them in this world, but also because they trust in God.

  511. The Kingdom of God is Like This (Ezekiel 17:22-23, Mark 4:26-29) by T.V. Philip

    The kingdom does not operate according to human calculations. The little things we do will bear fruit in their own time. We trust in God to bring about the result. We wait in hope.

  512. The Last Word: A Good Friday Meditation on Luke 23:46 (Luke 23:46) by Patrick Henry

    Luke leaves it at "he breathed his last." The ultimate question is not "What happens when I die?" but "In whom can I trust to the end?" The Christian is called to trust in God who sides with Job, who will not let his people go, who dies alone.

  513. The Living Bread (John 6: 52-58) by T.V. Philip

    In this Gospel, different metaphors are used to describe the person of Christ: living water, life giving water; living bread, bread which gives eternal life; light of the world, light of life; good shepherd, shepherd who gives his life for the sheep. Whatever metaphor we use, he is the true source and giver of eternal life to the individual as well as to the world. He is the source of true and authentic human existence.

  514. The Magic Kingdom (Jer. 23:5) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    Christ rules those who have received the redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness that result from his death on a cross.

  515. The Mary in Us All (Luke 1:4b-42) by Ronald Goetz

    Who better than Mary illustrated the fact that every one of us is a passive and indeed virgin recipient of Godís purpose and calling?

  516. The Mercy of God (Exodus 20: 1-20; Matthew 18: 21-35) by T.V. Philip

    The meaning of the kingdom of God, which is the central message of Jesus, is the unlimited love and mercy of God.

  517. The Message and the Messenger by John Stendahl

    As prophet, teacher and champion of God’s dominion, Jesus bid us see not himself but the will of God. So it is with the gift Mary holds on Christmas morning. In desire for us, God has forgotten himself. The words and implications come later; but now, first, the Word is an infant and cannot, need not, speak.

  518. The Millstone (Mark 9:38-50) by Joel Marcus

    The same Jesus who in Mark 9 says that it would be better if child abusers had never been born, in Mark 10 points to his own abused body as a sign of hope for all.

  519. The Mind of Christ (Philippians 2: 3-11) by T.V. Philip

    Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to look to Jesus and follow the same mind we find in him and which we can also receive from him. Then Paul in a sentence or two very graphically describes the person of Christ: What is he, what is his mission, and what it is that we learn from him?

  520. The Most Uncomfortable Day of the Year (Mk 1:15) by Byron L. Rohrig

    I am nervous and uncomfortable on Ash Wednesday because I must confess publicly that I am a sinner; not only that, but I must stand within the faith community and witness while others confess the same.

  521. The Nativity as Divine Comedy (Luke 1:51-52, RSV) by Conrad Hyers

    The biblical themes of scattering the proud, putting down the mighty, and elevating the lowly are an important part of the symbolism of comedy and the repertoire of clowns and fools. The uplifting of the lowly is particularly evident in the story of the nativity.

  522. The New Age of the Spirit (Acts 2:17-17a; 20a; 21) by Ronald Goetz

    Though driven by the Spirit to speak and act, our expectation of the perfect freedom of the reign of God can be uttered and our praxis realized only in terms of particular metaphors, projects or cultural prejudices.

  523. The Obedient Son (Phil. 2:1-13;Matt.21:23-32) by Susan Pendelton Jones

    Jesus' parable of the two sons points to the radical obedience of Jesus himself, which is a model for Christians.

  524. The Offense (Lk. 4:21-30) by John Stendahl

    Impatience can be a healthy sign of life, part of the yearning to cast off old ways.

  525. The Other "H" Word (I Cor. 1:1-9; Jn. 1:29-42) by Mark Ralls

    Hospitality was a strong aspect of Jesusí teaching, and the church could use more of it today concerning homosexuality, race, disability and women.

  526. The Other Kingdom (Luke 23:33-43) by Michael Battle

    What should we be doing in the face of the violence portrayed to us on television as well as in the real world?

  527. The Outset (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22) by John Stendahl

    Our first calling, the baptismal call, is the one that simply loves and names: You are my child. I delight in you. Anointing is a sign of blessing, but it is also a commissioning. As for Jesus, so for us.

  528. The Owl in the Daylight (Rom. 13:11; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 11:33) by Lamin Sanneh

    The mature Christian utilizes the mystical ability to be "awake" to things kept in the dark and thus has a new perspective and an alertness to the passing day.

  529. The Perfect Mirror (Jn 18:1-19:37) by Barbara Brown Taylor

    One of the many things this story tells us is that Jesus was not brought down by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix.

  530. The Perils of Riches (Mk. 10:17-31) by Kenneth L. Carder

    The Bible contains more warnings about the dangers of wealth than about the pitfalls of poverty.

  531. The Power of Sin Is the Law (I Cor. 15:56) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    Laws that treat offenders as subhuman are certainly sinful. Violence sanctioned by the community begets more violence.

  532. The Proclamation (Neh 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Cor. 12:12-31a; Lk 4:14-21) by John Stendahl

    Jesus proclaims that the words of the prophet are not about some distant future, nor even about the near millennium. The jubilee year, the good news for the poor, the release of captives, the recovered vision, the liberation of the oppressed: these are proclaimed now, here, this day.

  533. The Protestant Dilemma (Jer. 31:7-9; Ps. 126; Heb. 7:23-28; Mk. 10:46-52.) by Peter J. Gomes

    If Catholics and Protestants in these enlightened times share any belief, it is that God and the word of God are not constrained by the cultural context and prejudices in which we have been accustomed to operate.

  534. The Psalmist (Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Ps. 16; 1 Peter 1:3-9; Jn. 20:19-31) by Debbie Blue

    The Biblical writers talk about bodily, physical characteristics of life (heart-flesh-pulse-being born). The resurrected body is at the heart of the Easter proclamation.

  535. The Real Prodigal (2 Cor. 5:16-21; Lk 15:1-3, 11b-32) by A. Katherine Grieb

    Jesusí parable requires discernment beyond human ways of thinking, discernment of the new creation that compels the ministry of reconciliation.

  536. The Salvation of Growth (Isaiah 5:1-7) by Delores S. Williams

    It is important for our children to see us and to help us be involved in tending the soil beyond our own little vineyards -- to see and help us work in the larger society to make a better and more just world for all people. This kind of involvement introduces our children to goals not inspired by the greed of our capitalist culture gone wrong.

  537. The Samaritan Spends the Night (Deut. 30: 9-14; Luke 10:25-37) by Peter S. Hawkins

    The Bible reminds us that the word of the Lord is accessible, perhaps even too close for comfort. God may ultimately be unknowable, but loving the Lord and walking in Godís path are possibilities open to anyone.

  538. The Sent and the Sender (Is. 61:1-2, 65:17-25; I Th. 5:16-28; Jn. 1:6-8, 19-28.) by Delores S. Williams

    Generations of believers have found hope in the notion that someone (or something) is coming to relieve them of their burden.

  539. The Shadow Side by Cynthia A. Jarvis

    The darkest fear of all, the fear that has the power not only to shape a life for death-dealing, but also to distort an entire community, is the fear that lurks beneath the pretense of power and privilege, the fear which crouches behind the doorways of prejudice and preys upon the least of those in the community.

  540. The Short One (Luke 19:1-10) by Roberta C. Bondi

    Why do we assume Zacchaeus was short? Maybe he couldnít see Jesus because Jesus was short. How easily we become trapped in unrealistic cultural ideals of the perfect being.

  541. The Show-Me Disciple (John 20:19-31) by Amy B. Hunter

    Doubts and uncertainty frighten us. Thatís why we reject Thomas -- he dares to bring doubt into our lives of faith.

  542. The Spirit in Sound Doctrine (II Timothy 1; II Timothy 3:14-4:5) by Lamin Sanneh

    Sound doctrine has deep social roots, not merely the ephemeral ones in wealth, strength, prestige and power -- though, thank goodness, the church as its share of those -- but also in humanity’s awesome diversity.

  543. The Things That Make for Peace (Luke 21:5-191) by William Willimon

    The United Methodist Bishop’s pastoral letter on peace, In Defense of Creation, is theologically flawed and focuses too much on mere survival. Resisting the historic Wesleyan emphasis on sanctification -- making better people -- they take up a more acceptable activism -- doing effective politics. Jesus called us to a change of heart and life -- but now it’s enough, it seems, simply to be politically effective. Politics has become our only means of transcendence.

  544. The Translation of Wonder (John 5:10) by John Stendahl

    The fish story thus becomes not about luck, but about blessing. It becomes personal, and Simon’s wonder turns from simple and greedy pleasure to deep awe at the unearned gift. The translation from luck to grace is what makes a miracle of what might otherwise have been just another fisherman’s tale.

  545. The Turn in the Path (Revelation 21:10; John 14:23-29) by Suzanne Guthrie

    Ascension recognizes the separation of the Risen Lord from the disciples as He goes to dwell at the right hand of the Father.

  546. The Urge to Travel (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm, 121) by Wilma Ann Bailey

    Did Abraham leave his homeland because the older generation refused to change. Is the membership decline in our older churches caused by the alienation of the younger aged members?

  547. The Waters of Solidarity (Gen. 1:1-5;Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11) by Mary W. Anderson

    People still fear sin, death, and the devil.

  548. The Witness at the Well (Jn. 4:5-42.) by Fred B. Craddock

    Jesus does not urge the Samaritan woman at the well to repent or change her behavior.

  549. The Word Becomes Flesh (John 1:1-3) by Richard E. Wentz

    Without the word, there would be no human race, no civilization. If you take from me the ability to speak and to record words, you take away all that is. Without the word, there is nothing. If it is true that nothing exists without a word, then everything that is, is the speech of God.

  550. The Word Made Rock (Matt. 7:21-29) by Talitha Arnold

    The Bible and the desert land of Arizona both offer the author a foundation laid out for her by the solid rock of faith.

  551. They are a Stiff-Necked People (Exod. 32: 9-10) by Kosuke Koyama

    God criticizes his own people, for the God of Moses and of the Israelites is a unique God. No other Gods are impartial.

  552. Thieves and Robbers (John 10:1; Acts 7:51;I Pet. 2:23) by Ronald Goetz

    How dependent we are upon the Holy Spirit to get anything right.

  553. Thirst Quencher (Jn. 7: 37-39, Acts 2:1-21, Ps, 104:24-34,35b) by Maureen Dallison Kemeza

    If there is to be peace in the Middle East, in Afghanistan or in the United States, it will come about through peacemakers whose grace and power flow from some explicit or implicit anointing by the Holy Spirit.

  554. Those Who Have Not Seen (Jn. 20:19-31) by James C. Somerville

    These things are written not that you might have the facts, but that you might believe.

  555. Three-Dimensional Faith (Hebrews 2:10-18) by Brad Ronnell Braxton

    Paul declares that the revelation of Christ makes a real difference in at least three different dimensions: the personal, the communal and the cosmic.

  556. Thy Will Be Done (Jonah 3:1-5, 10; I Cor.7:29-31; Mk. 1:14-20) by Mary W. Anderson

    When we decide to follow, we are called to lay down some of our most valuable possessions: our understanding of the world, our view of right and wrong, our assumptions about whom God favors and whom God despises, our ways and our thoughts.

  557. Tidings of Great Joy (Luke 2:10-17) by T.V. Philip

    Christ is born in a manger and not in a palace. This is why the religious leaders, the rich and powerful of his as well as our day failed and fail to recognize him. Only the poor shepherds could recognize him, and only to the poor and the frightened does Christmas comes as a message of good news.

  558. Ties That Bind (1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18; Acts 4:-12) by Stan Wilson

    We are there for each other but why are we reluctant to tell each other that we will be there in their need?

  559. Time's Up (Mark 13:1-8) by Mary W. Anderson

    Those of us who are not ill or elderly are busy living in the middle of things. But what if we all needed to prepare for the end? End times call for alertness, sharpness. They tingle with expectation. They are times of uncertainty and fear only for those whose faith is thin.

  560. To See and Not to See (Acts 17:22-31; John 14:15-21) by Scott Bader-Saye

    By proclaiming the invisible and the unknown, Paul refuses to let God become just another novelty, just another idol.

  561. Touch and See by F. Dean Lueking

    Acceptance, encouragement, trust and hope come through in the touch of hand upon hands as the risen Lord touches us through others.

  562. Trojan Horse (Mat. 25:14-39) by James Howell

    The word "talent" for the Greek word talanta, is really a miss-interpretation. It probably means a whole "bag of gold." According to the author, this huge amount gives the parable an entirely different emphasis.

  563. True Grit (Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25) by Talitha Arnold

    Joshuaís willingness to affirm what he believed challenges, but how do you do it without damning other faiths? How does one retain the essence of Joshuaís covenant without its exclusivity?

  564. True Grit (Mk. 7:24-37; James 2:1-10; Matt. 15:21-28) by John Ortberg

    Jesusí followers are still tested in offices and cubicles, at school desks and cafeterias, at the boundary lines between nations, races and cultures, around breakfast tables and family rooms.

  565. Turn in the Road by Mary Schertz

    Paulís traumatic experience on Damascus road is not the only way one can be transformed by Christ.

  566. Twice Healed (2 Cor. 1:18-22; Mk. 2:1-12) by Douglas R. Loving

    The power of intercessory prayer.

  567. Two Arenas for Faithfulness (Matthew 5:13-20) by Fred B. Craddock

    To cling uncritically to the past is to purchase security at the price of denying that God is a living God, continually doing new things among us,

  568. Two Divine Promises (Ex.6:2-8; Rom.11:33-36; Mt.16:13-20) by Luke Timothy Johnson

    The trouble with liberation theology is not Jesusí death and resurrection and sending of the Spirit, but his earthly life of solidarity with the oppressed is normative. Paulís attention to the life of the spirit is not taken as a "fulfillment" but at best as a distraction, at worst a distortion. Paulís puzzlement over Godís "inscrutable ways" in a crucified Messiah is replaced by a simplistic "preferential option for the poor."

  569. Uncommon Sense (Mark 8:27-38) by Joel Marcus

    Christian theology has always seen Jesusí terrible, degrading death as a victory, indeed the victory by which God vanquished the power of evil once and for all.

  570. Understanding Faith and Miracle (II Kings 17:17-24) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    The Scriptures have always used the widow and orphan as symbols of society’s most vulnerable and defenseless people. Both justice and compassion require that Christian churches make the gospel a real word of good news by reaching out to such people.

  571. Unforgiven (Matthew 18:15-20, Romans 13:8-14) by William L. Hawkins

    More than anything else, the unwillingness to perform the difficult task of forgiveness and reconciliation in the love and spirit of Christ is what robs the church of that quality of life that first attracted outsiders.

  572. Unless Someone Guides Me (Acts 8:26-40; 1 John 4:7-21) by William Brosend

    Love must have been hard to come by in this beloved community which I John addresses; 29 times in the space of 15 verses the author uses one form or another of agape.

  573. Unlikely Messenger (John 4:5-42) by Patricia Farris

    Not only is she a woman, but a divorced woman with a shady past and a Samaritan. By custom, Rabbi Jesus ought not even speak with her in public, let alone drink from her Samaritan bucket. But what transpires between these two is nothing short of miraculous. These strangers, these enemies, discover at the well that they need each other.

  574. Unquenchable Fire (Lk. 3:7-18) by James F. Kay

    The church is commissioned not to proclaim the advent of hell to all who are on their mad way there, but rather the advent of Jesus Christ. He has come, as John promised. Alone and abandoned he descended into the depths of hell. Thus, there is absolutely no possibility for us that is beyond the reach of God’s inexhaustible grace.

  575. Up for Adoption (Romans 8:12-25) by Verity A. Jones

    In Godís family, all of us are adopted and none has a birthright. Whatever our experience of family loss and brokenness we will always belong to God.

  576. Upside-Down World (Mark 10:46-52) by Stephen B. Chapman

    Dr. Chapman fears that many churches have relegated primary concerns to the background by pushing secondary matters up front, so that what is central to the gospel is lost.

  577. Virtual Virtuosity (Mark 12:38-44) by Robin R. Meyers

    The most insidious thing about being a "parson" (the person), who agrees to be on display as an example of what the gospel actually does to a person, is that an insidious, largely subconscious form of compensation begins to produce a kind of "virtual virtuosity" The performance becomes the product.

  578. Waiting on God (Isa. 35:1f) by Lamin Sanneh

    Christians wait for the feast to come with grateful hearts even though in the interim their minds are set on unresolved troubles and unreachable horizons.

  579. Wake-up Call (Isaiah 2:1-5; Matthew 24:36-44) by Peter W. Marty

    Jesus reminds us that life is far too precious to allow us to put up with business as usual.

  580. We Are Aliens (Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56) by William H. Lamar. IV

    We want to think of ourselves as good and others as bad. Jesus continues his work of tearing down walls and extending Godís mercy to those who are scattered and alienated.

  581. Weíre All Terminal (Luke 24:1-12) by Craig Barnes

    To say that Jesus is risen from the dead is not to say he has returned to his earthly life, but to say that God lifted Jesus up to new life. It says that God will do the same thing for us.

  582. Weariness in Well-Doing (II Thess. 3:11-131) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    We are even more driven than our predecessors by the demand for visible results and achievement.

  583. Weatherproof (Job 38:1-11; Mark 4:35-41) by Jim Callahan

    Markís purpose, not just in this story of quelling the storm but in all of his Gospel, is to tell us "who this man is" and how he may be trusted. Not only is he the Savior of the world, he is also our close, storm-proof companion, our fellow traveler.

  584. West Coast Witness (Matthew 16:13-20) by Peter S. Hawkins

    "Whom do you say that I am?" Dr. Hawkins suggests the answer is most difficult, but suggests: "We have come to know and to believe that you are the Holy One of God," is an affirmation to stake a life on, a Lord not to explain but to follow.

  585. What About Zebedee? (Mt. 4:12-23) by Mark Ralls

    The author identifies with Zebedee, who stayed in the boat when the others jumped out in response to Jesusí call.

  586. What Child is This? (Isaiah 7:10-16; Matthew 1:18-25) by Frederick Niedner

    Pay attention to your dreams. Josephís dream named his son, but he did not own him any more than we own ours.

  587. What Do the Palms Say? (A Meditation for Palm Sunday) by Byron L. Rohrig

    A reflection on the significance of the palm branches with which Jesus was greeted on his entry into Jerusalem. The tradition of waving the fronds is not what we think.

  588. What Does the Bible Say? (Ezek. 34:11-16; I Cor. 15:20-28; Mt. 25:31-46.) by Delores S. Williams

    From the perspective of the biblically illiterate, the final question may be, as one student put it: "Why read a book telling about a kingdom coming when technology has already created paradise? And itís getting better every day."

  589. What God Wants by Thomas G. Long

    Can we expect an ethical God to punish us for our injustices through vengeance upon the innocent with a surging tsunami or a ravaging cancer encrypted into human tissue?

  590. What Has the Gospel of John Given Us (John 14:1-14) by William Brosend

    Some of the difficult verses of Johnís gospel, those words that are often contested, are confronted, discussed and given broader and more meaningful interpretation.

  591. What Then Shall We Do? by William Willimon

    In John's time, Israel practiced proselyte baptism -- that is, gentile converts had to be bathed as a sign of radical change, purity in the new faith and birth into the people of Israel. John makes the shocking assertion that even Israel must be washed. Remember, our Lord comes not only to save us but also to change us.

  592. Wheat and Chaff (Is. 11:1-10; Rom. 15:4-13; Matt. 3:1-12) by Ruth A. Meyers

    The scriptural command to die to self has been used for centuries to reinforce social systems that limit the ability of women, people of color, poor people and other oppressed people to claim their full human dignity.

  593. When the Gospel Goes to the Dogs (Mark 7:24-30) by Heidi Husted

    Even after the response of the Greek woman to Jesus who had compared her to the dogs, Jesus does not hold his saving power in reserve, but expands the circle of Godís mercy to include those once considered outsiders.

  594. Whitewash (Revelation 7:9-17) by Martha Greene

    The lesson from Revelation contains words for those who strive to be faithful, but who are ground down by life.

  595. Who Can Be Saved? (Mark 10:17-31) by Stacey Elizabeth Simpson

    What must we do to inherit eternal life? We must let go of all that we have and all that we do that gets in the way of seeing that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.

  596. Who is He Kidding? (Mark 11: 1-11) by David F. Wells

    So much of Markís gospel seems to be some kind of joke. The defining moment of our ministry may leave us feeling foolish too. It comes when we, like Jesus, realize we are near the end of our journey; and we finally face up to evil, bringing nothing in our hands but what he had: peace and truth and love.

  597. Who Is Like Thee? (Isaiah 40:21-31) by Mary W. Anderson

    In a risky but effective homiletical strategy: Isaiah proclaims the greatness of the Lord in contrast to the insignificance of the people. Who are they to question Godís ways, Godís abilities? He is a master at putting God and humankind in perspective.

  598. Who Will Take Care of Us? (Jn. 14:23-29) by James C. Somerville

    I don’t know that the Holy Spirit has ever been compared to a babysitter. But if you can imagine Jesus as a mother, then it may not be so hard to imagine the Spirit in this other role, as one who cares for the church in the interim between Jesus’ departure and return, as one who comforts, teaches, reminds and, yes, sometimes even romps with the sons and daughters of God.

  599. Whose Casserole (John 6:51-58) by Paul Stroble

    Christís living bread is quite adaptable to all kinds of circumstances. He feeds us anywhere, anytime, in all ways, for Christ is our constant benefactor.

  600. Why Bother With Reformation? (John 8:31-36) by Bruce Modahl

    The changes that have taken place in relations between Roman Catholics and Protestants since Vatican II.

  601. Why Follow a Crucified Christ? (Mk. 8:27-38) by Kenneth L. Carder

    Because we follow a crucified Christ, we enter into solidarity with the world’s suffering masses. We experience the power and love of God through the vulnerable and suffering.

  602. Widow's Walk (Mark 12:38-44) by Mary W. Anderson

    The issue is not how much we have in the bank, but what that money is for us. Is it our heart, our security, our source of power, or is it a tool for our stewardship?

  603. Wild Fire (Job 19: 23-27a) by Michael Battle

    Perhaps we should feel insecure in making the claim that Christians are called to suffer, but consider the vision of Job, who sees God only "after my skin has been thus destroyed." And so we must claim that we are called to suffer if we want to see the living God.

  604. Wildfire (Acts10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-7) by John Killinger

    John Killinger speaks of the Holy Spirit, itís miss-use its value. He is led to say that the more eloquently and confidently we discuss the Holy Spirit and commemorate the Spirit in our high holy days, the less we are truly in touch with the Spirit.

  605. Wildfire (Acts10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-7) by John Killinger

    John Killinger speaks of the Holy Spirit, itís miss-use its value. He is led to say that the more eloquently and confidently we discuss the Holy Spirit and commemorate the Spirit in our high holy days, the less we are truly in touch with the Spirit.

  606. Wind Blown (Jn. 3:1-17; Rom. 8:12-17) by Bill O'Brien

    The wind is blowing. God is at work through the church and beyond the church. Political systems resist anything beyond themselves and the elite class they serve, while at the same time the countryís churches may be poor, weak and helpless. But Jesus demonstrated that there is always room for surprises.

  607. Windblown (Acts 2:1-11) by Jim Callahan

    In todayís world, especially in our anxious Western culture, we seem hell-bent on happiness and on any shortcut that can get us there. Generally we seek a happiness that is a far cry from what went on that day of Pentecost.

  608. Wine Tasting (2 Corinthians 3:1-6; Mark 2:13-22) by Douglas R. Loving

    Christ invites us beyond the ruts weíve worn, the truncated lives weíve settled for. Embrace the new; relish Godís continuing creative energy, and find a way to modify priorities so that all benefit!

  609. Wisdom (James 3:13 -- 4:3a; Mark 9:30-37) by Stephen Fowl

    The cross is central to all accounts of Christian wisdom. The crucified and resurrected Christ is the standard by which that wisdom is measured.

  610. Wisdom Famine (Proverbs 9:1-6; Ephesians 5:15-20) by Heidi Husted

    Who wants to be wise anymore? People want to be right, rich, popular and in control. Information is fast, loud, superficial, numbing. We canít get away from it. Wisdom is slower, deeper, lasting, more elusive.

  611. With the World Watching (John 17:20-26) by James C. Somerville

    Jesus’ prayer for unity among his followers has not been answered. We are not all one.

  612. Woe Is Me! (Isaiah 6:1-7) by Ronald Goetz

    God does not declare unto us our sin in order to destroy us. In the very moment he accuses us as sinners, we are already forgiven.

  613. Wonder Bread (John 6:24-35) by Charles Hoffman

    Jesus takes the risk of doing something more pertinent and more useful than complying with the crowd's misguided agenda. These people followed Jesus for the wrong reasons. This should not surprise us; today it's still common practice.

  614. Word Perfect (I Th. 2:9-13) by James Howell

    Itís possible the mundane words of the street are closer to Godís Word, then some of our pious words from the pulpit.

  615. Works of God in Our Tongues (Acts 2:1-11) by Joseph M. Mcshane, S.J.

    The public message of Pentecost is a challenge to all the peoples of the earth to discover their unity as children of God. It does not support isolation in Christian sects, which claim an exclusive monopoly on the Spirit and demand conversion to the language and mores of their tribe as the price of salvation.

  616. Wrecking Crew (Ephesians 2:11-22) by Kevin Baker

    Walls are needed to keep out the predator and to protect against the elements, but literal walls and spiritual ones can lead to grief, division and violence. All walls have a purpose, but not all walls serve the purposes of God.

  617. Wrestling with Advent (Luke 1:29) by Janet Karsten Lawson

    Prodded by Jean-Luc Godard’s provocative film Hail Mary, Janet Karsten Larson meditates on the annunciation to Mary and the theme of embodiment.

  618. Yahweh Is Generous to All (Psalms 145:8-11) by Kosuke Koyama

    God’s tenderness and generosity is fundamental to the Christian faith. The holy God is a tender and generous God. This is the heart of the Christian sacrament.

  619. You Are Israel by J. Mary Luti

    Scripture is not meant primarily to fit or foster individual inner lives -- not in the modern sense, anyway. It is meant first for shaping, celebrating, instructing, warning and vexing the life of a people, a community chosen to show God’s glory to the world.

  620. You are My Beloved Son (Luke 3: 21-22) by T.V. Philip

    At the baptism of Jesus God has declared to the world that Jesus is the Son of God in whom he is well pleased . Therefore, in our baptism, our identity as sons and daughters of God is established.

  621. You Prepare a Table for Me (Psalms 23) by Kosuke Koyama

    Our self-understanding is challenged by a God who prepares a table -- a feast, not a fortress with guns! -- for us in full view of our enemies.

  622. You, Therefore, Must Be Perfect (Matt. 5:20) by Fred B. Craddock

    One’s life is not to be determined by friend or foe but by God, who relates to all not on the basis of their behavior or attitude toward God but according to God’s own nature, which is love.

  623. Your God is Too Nice (Matthew 20:1-16) by Gracia Grindal

    A fair wage for an unfair days work? God is being merciful, not fair, and this is what mercy looks like. God is truly love, and wills that all may be saved.

  624. Zealous Hopes (Is. 9:2-7; Ps. 96; Titus 2:11-14; Lk. 2:1-20) by Kathleen Norris

    The Christmas story calls us to be willing, like Mary, to take the words in, to treasure and ponder them, because so much is possible when we do.