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Weekly Inspiration

Weekly Inspiration

Psalm 36_5

Divine Comedy in Seven Acts

 Psalm 36:5-10 Classically speaking, a comedy isn’t necessarily funny. What makes a story or situation comic rather than tragic is its perspective on human nature and destiny. Remember Dante’s Divine Comedy? I bet many of us never made it out of Part 1: Hell. But we know that after Hell comes Part II: Purgatory and finally Part III: Paradise. That final arrival makes the whole thing, ultimately, a comedy. How does comedy differ from tragedy? The tragic view emphasizes our…
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The Peace of Israel, the Hope of Creation

Psalm 8:3-4; Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 We have awaited the arrival of a weary young woman, a strong donkey, and a patient father to the stable. We have anticipated the birth of the son through whom the world was  created, born now, wrapped in strips of cloth, surrounded by livestock. And we have celebrated the joy to the world that is Emmanuel. With tree and lights and neighbors and family, some of us have spent a week set apart, a week of…
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Sing a New Song

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 As the clock ticks toward midnight , the song that is this old year rapidly begins to fade. The writer of Ecclesiastes senses and exposes the turmoil of our human condition. As we reflect on the past twelve months, life seems to have oscillated from one extreme to the other. In retrospect, it seems as if there really has been a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. We have planted, we have uprooted;…
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Unwrap the Gift!

Luke 2:1-20 How precious the Bible is, for it contains the stories of God’s self-revelation to men and women of faith who went before us. Such encounters are holy and defy description. Thus all scripture is a telling beyond expression and a hearing’ beyond comprehension . So it helps to think of the Bible as a place-a place where God and persons meet. That pushes me, as I read it, to stand in the place and re-experience the presence of…
ServantoftheGospel

A Long Wait for Christ’s Coming

Romans 1:1-7 Many people can pinpoint a moment in their past when  they felt Christ’s presence in a decisive, new way. That moment divided life into a BC and an AD. For many of us, life seemed dif­ferent after that one moment when Christ entered our story and dwelt with us in a clearer way. In the AD years that follow, we look ahead, increasing in maturity and walking in the light. But let us stop and look back for…
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Slow Down

Read Isaiah 35: 1-2, 5-7 Rain. Nose-dripping, umbrella-flipping, gray-sky, dreary rain, it has been raining torrents for seven days. I sit here nursing a old. wishing that the rain would stop, and longing for the blue-sky, warm days of summer. My mind wanders, visiting summers past. Our first year here we planted forty trees. Summer came with its searing Alabama heat, unbearable to me and death to my baby trees. What I would have given for this rain then! My…
caring

The Way and Practice of Peace

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 The modern world commonly associates monarchy with wealth, inherited privilege, custom and ritual-though usually at some distance from those political processes that actually make a difference in the lives of people. Not so in the Hebrew Scriptures where the king has a direct relationship with the people. The people look to him for fair judgment, protection, and sustenance in hard times. The expectations people have of the Jewish king are like, in the modern world, the expectations…
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Places of Holy Mystery

Isaiah 2:1-5 Metaphors are containers of meaning. The Bible leads our imagination to fascinating metaphors, many of which can excite our passion. The scripture passages for this week’s meditations lift up for me the metaphor of “Holy Land Tour” – God’s message from Jerusalem. Many years  ago  I  took  a group of seminary students on a Holy Land tour. The meetings prior to our trip were times of keen awareness and exciting preparation. We shared our expectations, focused on scriptures…
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Thanksgiving for God’s Greatest Gift

Jeremiah 23:1-6 The prophet Jeremiah is not known for cheerfulness. Today we might describe him as a glass-half-empty kind of guy. The book of Jeremiah reflects the despair of a people exiled from their land and their God because of disobedience. The prophet blames the kings of Judah (the destructive “shepherds”) for the plight of their people. By failing to lead the people in God’s way, the kings have left the nation vulnerable to its enemies. This passage begins -with…
the-peaceable-kingdom-edward-hicks

Are We There Yet?

 Isaiah 65:17-25; 11:6; 35:9 Those of us who are old enough to remember the lunar land­ing in 1969 may also remember the name Sea of Tranquility. I always liked this name for an area of the moon; while the moon seemed like a cold and forbidding place, Sea of Tranquility sounded like a desirable place to be-no conflict, no oppression, no violence, nothing but peace and comfort. This week’s scripture readings all have a future orientation. Thanks to human failings,…
Docs Hangout

The Tensions of Faith

Habakkuk 1:1-4 It’s happened to most of us at one time or another. We purchase a product or a service, try to use it, and discover it does not measure up to our expectations. We return to the supplier, asking for a refund or cancellation of a service. Customer service doesn’t seem to care. Finally, in frustration, we ask, “May I speak with a supervisor, please?” The prophet Habakkuk appears to face a similar situation involving a three-way relationship among…
Life after rain

In God’s Own Time

Psalm 65:5-13 Abundant harvests. Streams filled with water. Soil softened for planting by the rain . Psalm 65 describes the beauty that results when God waters the earth. For this gift of creation we all shout and sing together for joy! We moderns complain about the rain and the temporary discomfort it causes, but rain is a time for celebration. The renewing waters are essential to our survival. Whenever I pray publicly and it is raining, I usually pray in…