Bishop Brian Cole reminds us that Mary, Jesus’s mother, and John the Baptist were real people. John has been preparing the way, making room for the Messiah, and it seems in Matthew 11 that he’s become concerned his work may be in vain—he is experiencing doubt because Jesus is not meeting his expectations for the Messiah. His doubt can be instructive for us...
Bishop Nicholas Knisely says the tension between the Isaiah and Matthew texts for Advent 2 is palpable—Isaiah speaks of new life, healing, and restoration. But in Matthew, John the Baptist boldly calls the people to repent—which really doesn’t fit our cultural experience of this season.
Dr. Charles Qualls says the vision Isaiah paints in chapter 2 is one of peace—a world we would surely like to live in. But in this era of mass shootings and the threat of war, these words don’t match our reality, and so we yearn to know: when will the Christ child hurry up and usher in such a peaceful time? And we wait...
Victoria Lawson reveals three "grace moments" in Luke 23: The grace of the request for forgiveness, the grace of simply talking with the Savior, and the grace of Jesus's response, which reverberates to us today.
Dr. Dock Hollingsworth says Jesus's disciples had seen so many wonderful miracles and events—there had never been anybody like this man! Yet Jesus knows that following the way of the Kingdom is not all about the good times. Sometimes there is hardship, sometimes bad things happen—and not in spite of being a Jesus follower but because you are.
In her sermon, the Rev. Lori Raible says by grace alone, and through the power of the resurrection, Christ redeems and calls us to participate in the reconciling work of God’s Kingdom, now. Ours is a God of action, one who says, “I am with you, now let’s go!”
On All Saints' Sunday, the Rev. Nathan Kirkpatrick says we acknowledge that what happens in the waters of baptism is that we are made part of a great extended family that includes seekers and servants, poets and prophets, contemplatives and charismatics.
The Rev. Ed Bacon says the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector offers deep teaching about life with God and with the human family and all of creation, namely, that the humility of interbeing aligns us with God's love.
In this parable, Jesus lauds the woman for her persistence in asking for what she needs. The Rev. Jenny McDevitt shows us that when we pray persistently, our connection with God deepens, no matter how God answers our prayer.
In his sermon on Jeremiah 29:1,4-7, the Rev. Matthew Ruffner says that just as Jeremiah told the people of Israel they weren’t taking care of others at their own expense, but rather as a community, we too need to open ourselves up to the wellbeing of all God’s people by seeking the welfare of our cities.
The Rev. Chris Henry says that in Luke 17 Jesus tells an odd parable to his disciples who have just begged him to increase their faith in light of all he has been teaching about living as a follower of his. What Jesus calls them, and us as Christians, to do can seem overwhelming, but Jesus encourages us that we already have enough faith to live out the challenging commands he's given us.
The Rev. Scott Jones explores the story of the Rich man, who’s unnamed, and Lazarus, the poor man whose name means “God is my help.” And he discovers that ultimately, we will either receive the name Lazarus by trusting the God who raises the dead to be our help, or we will attempt to make a name for ourselves, and remain nameless and immune to being raised up to new life.
Dr. Chris Girata helps us unpack a weird parable of Jesus in Luke 16. Jesus’s moral of the story is rather confusing--we’re supposed to be shrewd like this dishonest manager? Yes--God’s children need to act shrewdly and be faithful with wealth
The Rev. Dr. Simon Mainwaring says perhaps God changes God’s mind in today’s scripture because God is more spacious than we may have thought God to be. God continues to lead the Israelites through the wilderness knowing that it takes time for a new theological imagination to form.
Paul’s letter to Philemon is instructive, says the Rev. David Meredith, because it reveals that equality in Christ is about the mutual participation of the particular person, gifts, graces, call, mission, and ministry of each person and Christ. As Galatians 3:28 puts it, “in Christ there is no division...among us all are equal.” That reality demands much of everyone in the church.
The Rev. Palmer Cantler says that in Luke 14, Jesus seems to presage Emily Post’s protocol for dinner seating. But his lesson is much deeper, focusing on the Kingdom of God. It’s not table etiquette, but table fellowship in view here. Jesus’s words are not instructions about seating charts, but a breaking open of our need to feel exalted for a lesson on humility.
Dr. Kristin Whitesides helps us see the point of view of a woman with a spirit of infirmity, bent over, only able to see the ground, and thus ignored and overlooked by all around her. This was her life for 18 years, until Jesus in the synagogue proclaims she is “set free.” Praise is only one reaction to this healing””the other comes from the threatened religious leaders.
The Rev. Mark Ramsey says that in Hebrews, the path from today to tomorrow is lined with a cloud of witnesses, each one cheering us on, recognizing our challenges from their own struggles and hardships, and reminding us of the promises of God in Jesus Christ.
In his sermon on Hebrews 11, the Rev. Mark Ramsey says we live in a time when short-term thinking is being substituted for long-term vision at so many turns””but the writer of Hebrews names the source of live-giving vision: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
The Rev. Jason Micheli says the key to having love as a noun in your life is making love a verb; where you invest in loving actions, loving feelings will follow. If that’s how love works for a spouse or in a relationship, then why do we suppose it’s any different when it comes to our love for God?