Sunday favorites

Luke 2:8-14 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in … [Read more...]

You have heard it said

Just a small bit more here on that passage in Romans I've been referring to as Paul's mini-Sermon on the Mount. I call it that because it closely follows many of the things that Jesus taught in that sermon in the Gospels. Paul wasn't quoting the Gospels -- he was writing years, maybe even decades earlier -- but what he says very closely parallels those teachings of Jesus. At a couple of points, though, Paul is a bit more accommodating, in a way. First there's that bit we discussed in the … [Read more...]

‘Let no one despise’

In the first epistle to Timothy, the author includes this challenge and encouragement: Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. It's interesting there that the writer assumes that this will be advice that Timothy will need -- that some will, in fact, "despise" his youth. And these despisers, the writer suggests, may well be among "the believers." The writer was most likely not actually Paul, but there's a Paul-esque … [Read more...]

Sunday favorites

Exodus 16:14-18 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: “Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in … [Read more...]

Sunday favorites

Isaiah 61:1-4 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of … [Read more...]

Sunday favorites

2 Corinthians 8:8-15 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something — now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be … [Read more...]

Sunday favorites

James 5:1-6 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of … [Read more...]

Apples and oranges

Well now way back in the Bible Temptations always come along There's always somebody tempting Somebody into doing something they know is wrong Well they tempt you, man, with silver And they tempt you, sir, with gold And they tempt you with the pleasure That the flesh does surely hold They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple But man I ain't going for that I know it was her pink Cadillac ... -- Bruce Springsteen, "Pink Cadillac" I'm reading Rachel Held Evans' Evolving in Monkey Town. … [Read more...]