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Weekly Inspiration

Weekly Inspiration

Jonah

Proceed toward Promise

Jonah 3:1-5 By Amy Persons Parkes Second chances often begin with someone covered in vomit. (See Jonah 2:10.) Perhaps our own second chances began with the nauseous feeling produced when truth and denial converged inside of us. In this way, Jonah’s story is similar to our own. The first time God spoke to Jonah and called him to the onerous task of offering grace and forgiveness to his nation’s archenemy, Jonah ran from the promise of a second chance for…
Water1620

Faces of Revelation

1 Samuel 3:1-9 By J. DANA TRENT Thousands of messages inundate us daily. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel we don’t know God. The constant noise that surrounds us can muffle even God’s powerful voice. It often takes repeated attempts and the wisdom of others to help us discern our Creator’s call. First Samuel is set in the early life of Israel, a precarious time when the “word of the Lord was rare.” Though the Israelites had known strong leaders…
Psalm8

What God Imagines

 Psalm 8 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 by Carolyn Whitney-Brown I want to propose a challenge for the New Year: Memorize Psalm 8 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. Psalm 8 offers a perspective both calming and energizing, especially in these pre-Epiphany days. As Christmas lights disappear from homes and businesses, the psalm speaks of a different kind of epiphany. Consider the creation around you, the amazing perfection of each exquisite, interconnected piece. Deeper than our wisdom is the mystery of God the Creator. In…

Sing a New Song

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 By Roland Rink 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…
John1_1

Unwrap the Gift!

John 1:1-14 By Hazelyn McComas The apt symbol of the evangelist John is the eagle, for throughout the Gospel his words soar. They climb ever higher, ever closer to the reality of the Mystery Who ls God. Some say that the eagle can fly so high because it is the only creature that can look directly at the sun and not be blinded. Fact or fiction, it is an appropriate symbol, for John looks at Jesus and sees God. Not…
Romans1-5

A Long Wait for Christ’s Coming

Romans 1:1-7 By Michael O’Laughlin Paul loses no time laying out Jesus’ messianic qualifications. We have heard the words that Paul employs so often that for us they may have lost their punch, but let us try to imagine how serious, even audacious, this passage might have sounded to Paul’s first readers. “Christ,” used here as part of the name of Jesus, means “anointed one”; thus it is itself a messianic title. Also, Jesus descends from David, a claim vividly…
Isaiah35

Slow Down

Isaiah 35:3-10 By Lesley Powell Cooper I woke up crabby this morning. A restless night, troubled by worries about today’s responsibilities, has left me feeling grouchy. I turn on the Christmas lights and try to read today’s Advent meditation, but I worry about getting everything done. I have to set up tables at the nursing home for my handbell choir. The Christmas cards need to be mailed. Did I remember to pay the power bill? Tonight is the last rehearsal…
Isaiah 11 1

The Way and Practice of Peace

Isaiah 11:1-5 By Pamela D Couture Read this passage again aloud. Breathe in and out with each phrase. Pray its cadence. Then focus on the meaning of the words – the beauty of the royal image. Jesse’s royal lineage is remembered for its reach toward goodness; a new king will grow from its stock. This king will embody the most important virtues for leadership – wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. His personal qualities will…
Psalms122-1

Places of Holy Mystery

Psalm 122:1-9 By Benoni Silva-Netto Many childhood memories fill the cloistered spaces of my consciousness with genuine joy and great thanksgiving. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, the ritual of early Sunday mornings included my father’s compelling voice saying, “It’s time to go to church.” For a long time I thought that my father got carried away in his religious practices. But in retrospect I realize that those invitations to “go to the house of the Lord” have directed my…
Luke 1_68-75

Thanksgiving for God’s Greatest Gift

Luke 1:68-75 By Eva Stimson Zechariah has at least two good reasons to be thankful: (1) After years of childlessness, his wife, Elizabeth, has just given birth to their first son. (2) After being mute throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy, his speech has been restored. Imagine yourself in Zechariah’s situation. What would your first words be after nine months of enforced silence? Zechariah’s first words are ones of praise. In loosening Zechariah’s tongue, God also has opened Zechariah’s eyes, giving him an…
2 Thessalonian 3-13

Are We There Yet?

2 Thessalonian 3:6-13  By J. Stephen Lang When the twentieth century began, most people optimistically believed that human life was improving, that humankind was progressing in the right direction. The wonders related in the Bible were in doubt, but the wonders of science and technology were not. So the Bible’s words about a dramatic return of Jesus to judge the earth struck many people as crude and quaint. Belief in heaven lost some of its appeal, since science seemed to…
StormDamaged

God’s Faithfulness

Haggai 1:15b-2:9 By Carmichael D. Crutchfieldt May 3, was a devastating day for the people of Jackson, Tennessee. A tornado completely destroyed several church edifices along with other property. As I write more than two years later, three downtown churches have not yet been completely restored. I cannot imagine the feelings of people sixty years after the destruction of the Temple. It’s not surprising to hear cynicism and disappointment even though the work has begun on the rebuilding project. We…