From a Tree to a Throne: The Story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

By Johnny Ramirez-Johnson.How would you feel today if you discovered that the credit card and bank account with all the fees involved you have been paying for some time, after all, was not opened by your spouse, it was a fraud committed by employees of Wells Fargo Bank? Experiencing being taken advantage of is not fun, it’s a bummer! In every neighborhood of Palestine they had their local abuser in situ. They were called Tax Collectors. Appointed and exercising the power of the oppressors—of … [Read more...]

Election Confession: Divided We Stand (Luke 18:9-14)

By Casey FitzGerald. Last Sunday I came home from a long day at church to find my family watching the second presidential debate. It is a favorite family pastime that debates on screen are accompanied by debates on the couch. On that particular night, voices were raised a little louder than usual. Accusations flew across the room. Hyperbolic statements were plentiful. Steam may have actually come out of my ears. I think we spent ten minutes arguing about who was less open-minded. … [Read more...]

No Justice, No Peace (Luke 18:1-8)

By Matthew L. Skinner. The system is rigged. It always has been.Prosecutors manipulate grand juries. Rapists from elite families get special leniency. Laws that stipulate minimum sentences for certain crimes prey on people of color. Greedy bankers dupe their clients then detonate the economy for their own gain and hardly receive a slap on the wrist.Sometimes a reason for hope breaks through. Sometimes a president commutes unfair prison sentences. Sometimes someone says … [Read more...]

Except This Foreigner (Luke 17:11-19)

By Eric D. Barreto. If Jesus’ words never strike me as strange, if Jesus’ words never cause me some sense of unrest, if Jesus’ words never trouble me, then I can be sure of one thing: I can be sure that I am missing something important.In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus heals ten lepers who beg for his mercy. Having healed them, Jesus tells them to show themselves to the priests. As they go and discover that they have been delivered from a malady that is as spiritual as it is physical, only … [Read more...]

Ah, Jesus, I Get It Now! (Luke 17:5-10)

By Jacqui Lewis. No wonder we don’t talk about verses 7-10 of this text. Faith the size of a mustard seed. Great. Love it. Tiny seed. Lofty idea. Preachable. Even tweetable.But the rest? Say you have a servant (not even an employee, but a slave) and they are plowing the field or tending the sheep and they come in tired. Do you say, “Take a load off and have a bite to eat?” Or rather, don’t you insist that they, though tired, wait on you, cook your favorite meal, and serve it with … [Read more...]

Hope: The Call to Action (Jeremiah 32:1-3, 6-15)

By Valerie Bridgeman. “We are obligated to hope.” ~ Bishop Yvette Flunder, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and pastor of City of Refuge UCCI have watched with dread as a drama plays out in North Dakota. Thousands of Native Americans and their co-conspirators have taken a stand to try to stop the company, ironically named Dakota Access Pipeline, from drilling for crude oil on land sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux nation. The company received approval to drill in late Jul … [Read more...]