Revised Common Lectionary: On the Law

Last Sunday’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount ended with Jesus’ assurance that he did not come to abolish the law. He assured his listeners that, to use the King James language, not “one jot or one tittle” would pass from the law, until all was fulfilled. The understanding of Jesus as “lawgiver” is… Read More

Revised Common Lectionary: Taste and See

Be Salty, find the light that shines Jesus urges his followers. After the most famous sermon ever spoken, Jesus does not hold back. He elaborates on the commandments as an illustration of the Blessings he has just preached on the Mount. Jesus tells us not to lose our flavor, not to hold back. Jesus urges… Read More

RCL: Simple (and nearly impossible) Requirements

I have been thinking a lot about discipleship these days. It’s not a word that progressive, predominantly white churches are all that comfortable with. Yet, with the lectionary moving from the Magi showing up to pay homage to Jesus to Jesus’ baptism, and to the calling of the first disciples… Discipleship seems a reasonable thing… Read More

RCL: God Calling

My call story involves an Amy Grant song and Route 128 in Massachusetts. I was already enrolled in a graduate program in Pastoral Ministry. I had been thinking of it as a useful prelude to what I thought I wanted to do: study Jungian psychotherapy. Then, one fall day I found myself driving to the… Read More

RCL: Baptism Renewed

It is time for baptism of Jesus, a well-worn text from the Revised Common Lectionary. This year its Matthew 3:143-17. Many leaders take this opportunity to hold a renewal of baptism. The timing is fitting in the secular calendar, New Year, New Start, Baptism Renewal. After the re-realization of who Christ is and that Jesus… Read More

RCL: Origin Stories

In her final, beautiful book, the late, luminous Rachel Held Evans wrote, The role of origin stories, both in the ancient Near Eastern culture from which the Old Testament emerged and at that familiar kitchen table where you first learned how your grandparents met, is to enlighten the present by recalling the past. Origin stories… Read More

RCL: Praise and … Something Ugly

It must be Christmas 1, Year C because the dreaded “slaughter of the innocents” passage is the Gospel text this week. Of course, there are other options and most of us will choose one of them. Just in case you are feeling called away from God’s reclaiming of God’s people in Isaiah, or the joyful… Read More

RCL: Still Waiting

By now, hopefully your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, your halls have been decked (with boughs of holly or your decoration of choice), and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go! But we’re not there yet. The season of waiting and anticipation continues. What will be synonymous with… Read More

Revised Common Lectionary: Reparations

What needs to be repaired in the world? What restoration is longed for by the injured and heartbroken? Here is your God, coming with vengeance to demand reparations and to save you. (Isaiah 35:4) What healing is needed in your community? What aches and pains await resolve in your own life? The Mighty One scatters… Read More

Revised Common Lectionary Advent 2

The end is near. Continuing Matthew’s theme, John the Baptist carries a heavy load of pointing out that the kingdom of God is immanent. A source of comfort to Mary in her magnificat, it is a source of worry for those in powers. John the Baptist promises radical restructuring of the world. “Who warned you… Read More