In God’s Hands (Jeremiah 18:1-11)

By Mihee Kim-Kort.   We are living in a world with no shortage of trauma each day. From floods to tsunamis, victims of gun violence and terror, refugees seeking to preserve their lives only to find themselves caught in wars and waves, we are constantly bombarded with the reminders of a relentless suffering experienced by God’s children. Where can we turn to find assurance of God’s loving presence in our midst holding us in caring hands? The words offered to… Read more

Why Jesus Wouldn’t Be a Democrat or a Republican (Luke 14:1, 7-14)

By Billy Honor.   If you just listened to the current presidential candidates talk, you’d think the United States is a nation comprised of only rich and middle class individuals. Almost nothing in their speeches, party platforms, and interviews would tell you that approximately 47 million citizens live in poverty in what is clearly the richest nation in the world. The reason for this political hush mouth about poverty (which, by the way, is defined as the state of being… Read more

Why We Can’t Wait (Luke 13:10-17)

By Matthew L. Skinner.   Why We Can’t Wait is the familiar title of Martin Luther King Jr.’s book from 1964. The volume includes his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (written April 16, 1963) and makes an argument to recognize 1963 as the beginning of “the Negro Revolution” while extolling the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. King’s “Letter” issues a call for urgency. He wrote it as a response to eight local white clergymen who had criticized his activities in Birmingham… Read more

Navigating a World of Division (Luke 12:49-56)

By Greg Carey.   In some parts of our country firefighters refer to trees and underbrush as “fuel.” As dry as it gets, especially in parts of California, it only takes a lightning stroke or an electrical spark to set off a raging forest fire. Our cultural moment feels ominous, as if we’re living next to a parched forest. In electoral politics we could scarcely imagine wider dissatisfaction or greater gaps in perception. Our leading presidential candidates have earned unfavorable… Read more

Standing With Blue and Black Lives (Luke 12:32-40)

By Karyn L. Wiseman.   iPhone or Droid? Right or wrong? Oreos or Chocolate Chips? Left or right? Action Movies or Rom-Coms? Facebook or Twitter? Toilet paper over or under? #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter? Many folks think that the choices we have before us are simply binary choices; one or the other has to be our position (and truthfully the toilet paper roll placement may be absolute—it’s over, people, over). But we do not have to choose one or the other… Read more

Who Am I? Rant vs. Relationship (Hosea 11:1-11)

By Walter Brueggemann.   This poem in Hosea, by the force of prophetic imagination, takes us inside the troubled interiority of God. It does not, however, start there. It begins, rather, with an external encounter between God and God’s people, Israel. The poetry is cast in the imagery of “father-son,” with God cast as father and Israel cast as son. (It could as well have been cast as “mother-daughter,” but that would not happen in that ancient patriarchal society.) The… Read more

How Long, Oh Lord? Praying Without Ceasing for Justice (Luke 11:1-13)

By Onleilove Alston.   As I looked through my Facebook newsfeed I saw many of my African-American friends asking, “How long, oh Lord?” This question is not just one we asked after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were added to our great cloud of witnesses as the latest victims of racial violence, but this is a question our parents, grandparents, and generations have asked as they faced oppression. Police killed at least 136 black people in 2016, according to The Guardian’s project The Counted,… Read more

Death, Injustice, and a Basket of Fruit (Amos 8:1-12)

By Melissa Browning. Things aren’t always what they seem. Like that time God sent Amos a fruit basket. It was a tricky move. Generally speaking, a fruit basket is a wonderful, cheerful gift. Strawberries, blueberries, plums – or in Amos’ case, ripe figs. Everybody loves summer fruit. It reminds us of picnics, and parks, and cookouts with friends. But when God sent Amos a fruit basket, it came with a foreboding little note that proclaimed the end of the world…. Read more

Moral Leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14)

By Adriene Thorne.   Now the United States of America was commander of the free world. She was a great country, in her own sight and in the sight of others, highly regarded, because through her the Lord had given victory. She was a valiant warrior, but she had leprosy. _______________________________________________________ My paraphrase of the 2 Kings text this Independence Day weekend captures, for me, the current flavor of our United States of America. It is evident in ongoing political… Read more

The End of Excuses (Luke 9:51-62)

By Karyn L. Wiseman. I’m a news junky and the last few weeks have been intense to say the least. They have been filled with tragic, uplifting, historic, and profound moments. Here are a few: We commemorated the 72nd anniversary of the storming of the beaches on D-Day during World War II and remembered the sacrifice of those brave souls who fought to bring freedom to our world. A woman reached the critical number of delegates to be declared the… Read more