The Death of Thanksgiving (Colossians 1:11-20)

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By Henry G. Brinton As Thanksgiving approaches and commerce clashes with personal values, people talk about what they are thankful for. Macy’s Department Store is famous for presenting the Thanksgiving Day Parade. But now the same store that is in its 87th year of producing a nationally televised parade, watched by millions, is being blamed for ruining the holiday. What has the store done? Decided to open its doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 p.m. Time Magazine reports … [Read more...]

Jesus, Poor Veterans and the Grass That Suffers (Luke 21:5-19)

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By Billy Honor After serving in Iraq, a young father battles unemployment as he and his wife fight to get a leg up in a tough economy. There is a popular African proverb that says when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.  This proverb highlights the reality that too often while nations and powerful entities fight amongst themselves, the common people of the land suffer the most.  It is a historical truth that those who make the decision to wage wars (military, … [Read more...]

Hearing Job: Vindicating the Traumatized (Job 19:23-27a)

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By David G. Garber, Jr. The mother of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, who was killed almost a year ago in the Sandy Hook School shooting, talks about coping with that trauma. The plight of Job is one of the most familiar stories from the Hebrew Bible. Many of us know Job’s suffering and the tortuous advice of Job’s “comforters.” The experience of suffering is universal. In the midst of our suffering, we seek to understand, to process, to comprehend. For individuals of faith, events of … [Read more...]

All the Saints: Luke 6:20-31

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By Greg Carey Seniors talk about the blessings and challenges that come with getting older. I probably shouldn’t admit how much I like Halloween. I’m too much of a slug to deck out my house, I rarely wear a costume, and I haven’t been to a wild party in years, but I love the excitement children bring to the whole process. Then again, there’s the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown—what’s better than that? I’m pretty much a sucker for Halloween. I was … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: Holy Humility in Community (Luke 18:9-14)

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By Carolyn J. Sharp People express their opinions of Pope Francis, who has made his concern for the poor a central theme of his young papacy. Reversals of power play through many stories and poems of Scripture. The sacred texts foundational to Jewish and Christian identity are insistent in their efforts to reconfigure our understanding of what counts as valuable and holy. Daring leaders in every age have responded with their own bold visions regarding what makes for faithful … [Read more...]

Beaten, Battered, and Burned Before I Am Helped 
(Luke 18:1-8)

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By Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder The images of her burned face are clear. Just yesterday the pictures of her charred skin became news, or so it seems. Although Yvette Cade’s estranged husband walked into a T-Mobile store, doused her with gasoline, pursued her and set her ablaze in 2005, the visuals are not so distant. One’s mind cannot erase such horror so easily. Some things are just etched in memory forever. What is most compelling is this heinous act of domestic violence could … [Read more...]

Studying the Law as We Study the Word (2 Timothy 2:8-15)

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By Yolanda Smith As Americans nervously prepared for the implementation of the newest phase of the Affordable Care Act on October 1, 2013, it was clear that even on the eve of its implementation, many looming questions still swirled around this new law. “What will it entail?” Who has to sign-up?” “What will it cost,” “Will I have to give up my current health care plan?” What if I have a pre-existing condition?” “What are health-care exchanges?” “How long do I have to … [Read more...]

The Modern Need for Lamentations (Lamentations 1:1-11)

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By Kimberly D. Russaw Twenty first century readers of the Scriptures are likely uncomfortable with the book of Lamentations and its stories of weeping, groaning, and grieving. But, the act of lamenting is not unique to biblical Israelites. Today’s world is full of lament-worthy situations.  One need only turn on the nightly news to hear countless stories from places like Detroit, Michigan and Camden, New Jersey – plagued by record foreclosures, abandoned buildings, corrupt … [Read more...]

It Is about the Land. It Is Not about the Land (Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15)

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By Jennifer Peace   Our relationship to place is so conditioned by our life experiences. When I moved to North Cambridge, MA, from the expansive West Coast, I got a lesson in the meaning of “near” and “far.” Walking around my new neighborhood, I greeted an old woman sitting in front of her house. “Did you grow up around here?” I asked. “Oh no,” she assured me, “I grew up way over on Sherman Street.” Sherman Street is about three blocks from where we were … [Read more...]

Shrewd Christians (Luke 16:1-13)

VerityJones

By Verity A. Jones We worry now, but we’ve been concerned about the economy for a long time. The economic recovery from the recession in America has been slower than we hoped, and people continue to suffer from the collapse of so many industries and jobs and safety nets.  Much of the pain seems new for large swaths of the American population. But in reality, we’ve been worrying about money forever. The August employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight … [Read more...]