At first read, this Sunday's Colossians text landed for me with a bit of a thud between the rich narrative images of Genesis and Luke. But the text engages the themes of calling and vocation in important ways.
Monday lectionary email, archived here on Friday.
Deuteronomy is a book of words, a book of preaching and exhortation offered as the word of God. It is made up of words given by leaders to the people before they are to form a new nation, establish homes, plant vineyards, dig wells.
Much is made in our time of creativity, imagination, and vision. Some lament that we have lost these qualities as a civilization; others search and find pockets of each like a light in the dark night.
The invitation follow me is a common refrain in the ministry of Jesus. In our Gospel text for this week, the call to follow is intensified. Jesus has now “set his face toward Jerusalem,” and his response to someone who wants to follow him is an extreme one.
Transformation often has a price. There is a cost to freedom, even freedom from demons.
Growing up it was in the kitchen every Sunday where I would witness the most frenetic, clamorous work of our church community.
This election season, we've seen a lot of hatred and inhospitality directed toward Muslims and toward migrants. There is talk of building walls instead of bridges, a focus on fueling the politics of fear instead of concern for human need. In 1 Kings 8 we see an alternative.
The Gospel of John addresses a community facing trouble because of its faith in Jesus. Its original readers needed to hear a message of affirmation. No wonder Jesus says "I will not leave you orphaned" and promises the disciples peace.
Lutherans are trained to hear the scriptures as proclaiming either law or gospel. By "law" they mean not passages from the Old Testament but all of the Bible's bad news: the sins we commit, the misery we experience, the sorrows we inflict on one another, the death we anticipate, the distance from God that diminishes our lives. By "gospel" they mean not the final reading on Sunday morning but the good news of the mercy given by a loving God, wherever in the Bible it is proclaimed.