Narrative Lectionary: Hoping Against Hope (Romans 5:1-11)

When my daughter was young, I would often say, “Hmmm…” as I thought about something.  “What hmmm?” she would demand, wondering what I was pondering. We have the same reaction to Paul, as the reading begins with “therefore…”  “What therefore?” we wonder.  Read the Narrative  Lectionary Commentary here. Read the scripture here. With his adept… Read More

Friday Festival: Back to the Foundation

As the week winds up, our bloggers are returning us to the essentials.  They offer a counterbalance to whatever sorrow, aggravation, worry or rage the week has brought to us.  The image above is Bonnie Jacobs meditation on the laundry — just in case your week has been like that, too. Jan Edmiston reminds us… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: The Living and the Dead (Matthew 28:1-10)

Matthew’s gospel begins and ends with angels, bringing the same message: “Do not be afraid…oh, and also, you have a job to do.”  The first angel in Matthew instructs Joseph to make Mary his wife, before Jesus is born.  The Easter morning angel tells the women at the tomb not to be afraid, and also… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Invitations (Matthew 22:1-14)

Decisions, decisions, decisions…the other day I RSVP’d for a wedding, and I was invited to choose my meal from these options: gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian and “I’ll eat anything.”  The hosts are working hard to show hospitality to all of their guests.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  They have to make decisions about… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Banquets and Blessings (Matthew 14:13-33)

Yawn…another feeding story…another miracle story.  Because versions of this story show up in the readings so often, the power of the story gets lost in our familiarity with it.  Even the delightful details are familiar – Jesus inviting (commanding?) the disciples to share the work with him, the grass that evokes a new Eden, the… Read More

Friday Festival: After Valentine’s Day

Whether you love Valentine’s Day or despise it, it echoes through our culture, and the feelings linger on even when the day is past.  Our bloggers are looking past the flowers, and past the pressure to be a perfect couple, past the teddy bears and the emphasis on romantic love to something deeper.  This day… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: Money Stress is Spiritual Stress

No one exactly said, “Let them eat cake,” but the recent government shutdown felt that way. Four in ten Americans can’t meet an unexpected $400 expense, we’re often told.  In my experience, the number is probably higher, and people are too embarrassed to say so.  In my younger years, I was one of those people. … Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Highs and Lows (Matthew 4:1-17)

When I visit a nursing home near my church, I say hello to the receptionist, and ask her how she’s doing.  Her answer is always the same.  “The devil is busy,” she says firmly.  Sometimes, if the phone isn’t ringing, she elaborates with news of her family’s struggles, or an illness or a problem she’s… Read More

Friday Festival: What We Embrace

Is it time to join a gym?  Follow up on a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking?  Make friends with Marie Kondo?  Our bloggers are writing about the gifts and challenges of the new year. Thinking about the star words that are often given at Epiphany, as a personal guiding star for the year ahead,… Read More

Friday Festival: Last Tastes of Advent

In these last days of Advent, our bloggers are pondering the empty spaces that remain.  Underneath the tinsel and carols, they’re exploring places of quiet and absence, calling us to a different kind of wholeness. Who belongs in the nativity scene?  Michelle Henrichs is wondering.  She balks at putting the magi into the scene, since… Read More