A Hard Word to Hear This Winter (Isaiah 58:1-9a)

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By Barbara LundbladMidnight Run distributes food, clothing, and toiletries to the homeless.his has been a hard winter—from Minnesota to Alabama. It’s been a very hard winter for Tanya and Red and Jamie and Andre and Adrian and Mercy. They are my neighbors here in New York City. It’s not that the heat was shut off in their apartments because they didn’t pay their bills. They have no apartments. Since last fall, they have made their beds on the steps of Riverside Church, under the scaff … [Read more...]

An Unexpected Servant: The Leadership of Pope Francis (Isaiah 49:1-7)

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By Lynn HuberPope Francis signaled a new kind of Vatican leadership from the very first acts of his papacy. As the New Year brings reflection over the past year, we have heard much about Pope Francis and the ways he has surprised Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  The suddenness of his predecessor’s resignation this past spring, the fact that he is the first Pope from the Americas, and his apparent commitment to his namesake St. Francis’ concern for the poor and displaced al … [Read more...]

The Liturgy of the Passion (Isaiah 50:4-9a)

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Dr. Walter BrueggemannThe voice that speaks in Isaiah 50:4 – 9a is the poet of the exile himself. Here he offers an autobiographical reflection on his call as a prophet sent by God to the deported Jews in Babylon in the sixth century BCE. His message to the Jews is they are now free to go back home to Jerusalem. This freedom came, says the poet, because of the dispatch of Cyrus the Persian at the behest of YHWH, the Lord of all of history. … [Read more...]

The Price of Being Prophetic: Isaiah 6.1–8; John 3.1–17

By Sze-kar WanThe recent escape of the well-known blind Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng from house arrest to the American embassy has attracted a lot of attention in the media. The story is rife with possibilities in an election year, and pundits and politicians are quick to spin it to their own advantage, be it to extol their virtues or launch preemptive strikes against their opponents. It would be easy to dismiss the American reaction as cynical and crass. The state-controlled … [Read more...]

Acts 8:26-40: Castrating Our Customs

By Rev. Adam J. CopelandSome people call them “thin places,” locations where the gulf between heaven and earth narrows and we fully sense God’s presence. Many people find these thin places in nature. Others discover them in the familiarity of a favorite book, a worshiping community, or a touching song. Though these thin places are inherently unpredictable, we can aid in their creation. Like Philip in Acts 8, we can run to join what the Spirit is already making possible. … [Read more...]

Isaiah 40:21-31: On Faith and Football

By Kathryn Schifferdecker“Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31 NRSV). … [Read more...]


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